There’s a reason why this film was made in the Midwest. Not just because the book had it take place there, but because these type of things happen here. Living here most of my life, I’ve seen various grades of this behavior. And although subtle, it can tear a person in two.
When I had first heard of Gone Girl, I saw it on the bookshelf at a local store. I pondered about its title, thinking that this might be the simpleton book that places the story and primary blame on its main male character. And then I learned of how much buzz it was getting, and that it was being made into a movie. At that point, I decided to explore more.
I knew instantly who the sociopath was when I learned what the main plot of the film was supposed to be. I knew because I’ve been involved with women like that. They’re often pretty, beautiful to the general public, charming, suspiciously accepting, and always, always wanting to be your friend RIGHT AWAY.
They’re often at a disadvantage of some sort, and they portray everyone else in their life as the enemy or villain in their simple story. People eat it up, just as the officers and public seemed to do in the movie. They could, in all essence, get away with a heinous crime, and make everyone believe that they are nothing but the innocent victim.
This is a type of social engineering that I learned about, recently: looking the part. People get up, get dressed, check their face and clothes in the mirror, and they go about their day. The only thing not making them into this sociopath is their intentions and what they plan to get away with… and also a healthy moral obligation to society, as a whole.
The sociopath manipulates people, just as the main character did. She carefully, thoughtfully manipulated people BOTH in the moment AND pre-planned. The only difference that I noticed is that she was so good at improvising that she needed to do nothing more than think her way through the situation as it occurred: something I’m rarely able to do in all circumstances.
People may wonder about Nick’s character. Does he also qualify? No, not quite. He did it to get to a safe point, but he didn’t do it to implicate or make other people suffer. I’ll refer to another genre, TV, with the ever popular “How to Get Away with Murder”. The show’s protagonist isn’t a murderer or a sociopath, but a person caught up in a very dangerous situation in which he needs to get release and relief in order to survive in the society he lives in. He has no ill will towards anyone, but he is often caught in a blaze of conundrums in every episode with consistent steps towards freedom and trying to protect loved ones and the populous, in general.
There’s a difference in what you’re doing something for, and when you’re doing it for your own entertainment. Some people like to see others burn. They want nothing to do with the wholesome goodness of humanity because they don’t believe in it anymore.
I feel like, without the people in my life, I could have easily made the mistake to live with one. They often open their homes and hearts to you, with the prospects of relief from your life and everlasting shelter. But the truth is clear: they use their doe eyes and sense of wonder against you. If you want to evade it, you have to see past their lies. Take a moment to look deeply into someone’s soul… and if your gut tells you there’s something wrong, listen. It has saved me many times.