Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Meddler: Gone Girl (Book and Movie), Part 2: Amy’s Nonsensical Plan

Here’s something that makes no sense on page or screen: Amy’s plan. Amy’s frame-up is clever and fun, no doubt, but it falls apart when we find out about her plan for the future, or lack thereof.

Amy quickly mentions in passing, in both the book and movie, that she intends watch Nick suffer for a while, then drown herself in the river to ensure a conviction. Huh? If she really wants to frame the guy, and she’s already put so much insane detail in to everything, and she’s ready to kill herself, why not just do it now, supreme in the knowledge that this will seal the deal?

Besides, if Amy is really a psychopath, as subsequent events will strongly imply, then it’s very unlikely she would ever even consider suicide. Psychopaths are the world’s most self-serving people, and they’re happy to just move on to the next victim, confident that they can once again fulfill their needs and then avoid all consequences.

And even if she’s planning on killing herself, why would she choose to stay at a cabin in the Ozarks in order to watch the coverage?? A big plot point is that she’s accustomed to luxury and can’t stand the indignity of her middle-class existence in Missouri. She has that big money belt, so why not go someplace nice? Does she not know that the rich have more anonymity and privacy than the poor?

Killing herself should never have been part of her plan. Why not just withdraw a lot of cash from those secret credit cards and then move to a Gulf Coast island to enjoy a life of low-cost semi-luxury while watching the whole circus on TV and starting a new low-key life?

You could still have her trashy neighbors bust in and steal her money (the rich and the beach-bums live next to each other on those islands, after all.) She could still flee to Desi when things went bad. It wouldn’t change much, but it would have made a lot more sense. As it is, the suicide plan creates a big motivation hole in the center of the story.  (And an empathy hole as well, because it’s hard to care about a character if you’re just waiting for her to kill herself.)

But that still leave three huge plot holes, which we’ll get to (and easily fix) tomorrow...


j.s. said...

Great point about psychopaths and suicide, which also holds mostly true for narcissists (who may be more likely to attempt it histrionically, but only in such a way that they'd never succeed).

I'd go a little further than you and say: No parts of Amy's plan make sense for Amy (or rather for all of Amy or all the Amys Flynn creates). Only psychopath Amy could come up with and carry out such a diabolical plan. But, of course, only good girl empath Amy would have been wounded by Nick to motivate it. Then again, psychopath Amy probably could have dispatched/framed Nick with much less toil and trouble, putting herself in a much more comfortable position. Though, obviously, psychopath Amy never would have been attracted to Nick in the first place. Nor would she have compromised her glamorous city life for him, given all that money to their mutual ventures or given the trust fund money back to her parents.

Amy's plans make so little coherent sense that even her fake frame-job plans for the fake framed-up villain role she casts Nick into suffer from the same jumbled nonsense. (I'm still not even sure we've exhausted all the ways in which the shed full of man-toys is inane.)

The island idea is appealing, though it would be hard enough to find anyone who would take cash or, I don't know, Bitcoin (of course Amy is hardly tech savvy), but most nicer hotels or rental properties won't do business with you without a current credit card -- to prove you are who you are as much as to cover any possible damages. And the relative weirdness of insisting on a cash transaction would actually make her stand out way more.

I admire your valiant effort to get under the hood of GONE GIRL's narrative, but I'm not exactly expecting this to turn into another Meddler home run like your rewrite of WALK THE LINE. And it wouldn't really be your fault. This story is just too convolutedly whacked out to fix.

Matt Bird said...

Agreed on all points.

BTW, I think I'll go ahead and move up part 3 to tonight, so as not to stretch out you guys' patience overly much.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I never once believed that Amy would follow through with her suicide plan. Thinking about it now, it seems maybe what Flynn should have done is have something go unexpectedly wrong in Amy's plan early on, stranding her at the hillbilly hotel. Maybe her original plan was to live on an island, but now she can't get there. Amy would have to consider suicide as better option than getting caught and exposed, but she can never quite bring herself to do it. The robbery would force her to confront the fact that it's not in her to kill herself, so she starts looking around for a third option. Thus Desi.