A Marriage Made in Hell and Three Fun Food Films

Ben Affleck in "Gone Girl." — Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Director David Fincher’s latest neo-noir film, Gone Girl, plays this weekend at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center and Entertainment Cinemas in Edgartown. The Film Center will also present three foodie films shown in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival. Le Chef and Chef –– both about cooks –– return to the Film Center, along with Somm, a documentary about four sommeliers trying to pass their field’s master exam.

Gone Girl is adapted from the popular novel of the same title by Gillian Flynn. In the movie, Mr. Fincher puts a new spin on the black widow genre made famous by Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, (1987). The difference is that instead of looking at an affair gone bad like Fatal Attraction, Gone Girl dissects a marriage on the rocks. Ben Affleck plays a laid-back magazine writer, Nick Dunne, who falls in love with and marries Amy, played by Rosamund Pike, who is the subject of a successful series of books written by her parents.

After Nick’s mother contracts cancer and both Nick and Amy lose their New York writing jobs, the couple moves to the small Missouri town of North Carthage, where Nick grew up. Amy is the powerhouse in the couple, and she uses her trust fund to buy a bar for her husband to run with his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon).

One day, Nick comes home and finds that Amy has disappeared. He calls the police, and soon a media circus is underway, with Nick looking more and more like the culprit who may have done away with Amy.

Entries from Amy’s diary suggest that the marriage has been deteriorating for some time. Bit by bit, evidence shows up that, after making Nick look like the bad guy, implicates Amy instead. The back-and-forth keeps viewers glued to their seats, puzzling over who did what and who will get away with murder. Subsidiary characters contribute to the mystery. Margo becomes an important ally to her brother, while Amy turns for help to a wealthy former boyfriend, Desi (Neil Patrick Harris).

The portrait Gone Girl creates of a marriage falling apart takes plenty of unexpected twists and turns. The media come across like vultures, feeding on the couple’s troubles and distorting the evidence of the case almost beyond recognition. Amy looms large as a powerhouse of deviousness and manipulation in contrast to her apparently easygoing husband. The ending of Gone Girl will leave the viewers scratching their heads about the games married couples play.

“Gone Girl,” Friday, October 17, 7:30 pm; Saturday, October 18, 4 p.m.; Sunday, October 19, 7:30 pm.

“Le Chef,” Thursday, October 16, 7:30 pm.

“Chef,” Friday, October 17, 4 pm.

“Somm,” Saturday, October 18, 7:30 p m; Sunday, October 19, 4 pm.

For more information, visit mvfilmcenter.com.