Monday, 13 October 2014

Gone Girl

In many ways David Fincher is the epitome of the modern film director. Rivalled only by Christopher Nolan, in my opinion, he could very well be the best director of the last twenty years (although Tarantino has done very well, Scorsese’s still going strong, as is Spielberg) okay, he’s a good director and let’s leave it at that.
And if there’s one thing that Fincher excels at is the psychological thriller genre. Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it’s an impressive list. And is Gone Girl the latest to be added to it. Based on the bestselling book, it follows the troubled relationship of Nick and Amy Dunne when on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary Nick discovers that Amy has disappeared. The following investigation can be summed up in one question, did he do it?
Well I can instantly say it could very possibly be the latest of Fincher’s films to get some healthy Oscar nominations. The stylish direction, the intelligent story line, this could be the clincher for Fincher as the Oscars. It’s easy to see why Fincher jumped at the idea to direct this film. The dark and twisted nature of it fits in nicely with the style of his other thrillers. Every current hot topic is explored in this relatively simple premise. It explores so many different dimensions and perspectives that you can really begin to question your own allegiance belongs to, whether they are innocent or not.
These kind of stories appear regularly on the news. The whole idea of making a film about them and automatically branding one side of this argument is quite a taboo subject to say the least. Making a book about this is one thing, but a mainstream movie? We seem to be forgetting just how bold this entire concept is. The whole experience is heightened with the power and influence that the media have in the modern world.
Naturally, this being Fincher, there are several twists throughout that really keep the viewer guessing. Too many thrillers of this kind get lost within their own trail. But in Gone Girl most of the plot point work very well. I say most, a few times it delves into the unbelievable and takes the thriller element a bit too far. I know it’s trying to get your heart rate going, but maybe one or two more pauses to let us absorb what’s just happens would really benefit.
Rather than having a what’s in the box moment there are some carefully plotted and slow twists rather than sudden ones. Through the intricate planning of a PR agent for example, or a single scrap of evidence. It builds tension all the way through as well. The result can be a slightly underwhelming finale, but it still works very nicely.
However there are some aspects that are really great. I love dark comedy, and this film has a really twisted sense of humour. You do have to look deep to find it but it shows, that is why I wish there were a few more pauses. That way we could think for a moment and realise, that was rather comedic. At some points it’s almost a satire of the entire culture behind this media frenzy of recent years. It points out how prejudice runs much deeper in our society than we like to think.
Supporters like Neil Patrick-Harris and Carrie Coon fit in very well and deserve praise of their performances. But the true outstanding point is the two leads. Any criticisms of Affleck or Pike that you have from other films are used to their advantage here. Though we may ridicule Affleck for Pearl Harbour and worry that he will ruin Batman, here he is at the top of his game. He is truly starting to regain his reputation as a great actor.
As the biggest star of this film, Fincher well and truly puts his mark upon it. What’s so brilliant about this mark though, is that it’s not obvious the way that Tarantino or Scorsese or Spielberg does with their films. He alters his mark a bit, polishes it to suit the material, and it’s worked very well here. The tone of the film is perfect with the plot, assisted by a wonderfully gritty soundtrack.
Though it may appear to be standard murder mystery, Fincher turns this into the ultimate battle of the sexes movie. It’s an exploration of marriage, media and morality.
Result: 9/10 

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