I’ve been a longtime fan of David Fincher. He has directed masterpieces such as the dark and twisted Se7en (1995), and inspiring works such as The Social Network (2010) He’s even taken a stab at sci-fi with Alien 3 (1992) and this isn’t his first time working with a novel, seeing as his previous movie was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). But his work doesn’t even stop there. He’s directed music videos and other short films as well. He even directed four commercials for the clothing line Gap this past fall, which you can see my analysis of them here.
After three years, Fincher returns to the silver screen with Gone Girl (2014), based off the novel of the same title by American author Gillian Flynn. Right off the bat, what I love about this film is that Flynn actually wrote the screenplay for the movie. The movie is about a man named Nick Dunne, whose wife – Amy – who has GONE missing. The media gets involved along with the police and eventually it goes from a ‘who done it’ movie to Nick fighting to prove that he did not murder his wife. The film stars the Dark Knight himself a Nick – Ben Affleck – Batman – Batfleck. Rosmund Pike plays his wife Amy, Tyler Perry (No joke, Tyler Perry in a Fincher thriller) plays Tanner Bolt – Nick’s lawyer, and finally Neil Patrick Harris (The Barnacle!) plays a former love interest of Amy’s, Dessi Collings.
Like I said, Gone Girl originally begins as a ‘who done it’ sort of movie. We hop back and forth between present and past as we learn about Nick and Amy’s relationship and marriage before she goes missing. What I loved about this is each scene in the present would leave on a cliff hanger, making me want more; but then we’d watch a scene from the past which would end on a cliff hanger as well. Both of these stories I was completely invested in, and wanted to learn more. Then once these two stories catch up with one another, that’s when things start to get real. Here I am in the theater thinking to myself, “Holy shit, this just got real, and yet I’ve only been sitting here for like an hour. How much more can happen in this movie?” And believe me, A LOT more happens. Of course I don’t want to give anything away because that would just be cruel and unusual. Usually I’m into that sort of thing, but not when it comes to film – the only thing I love in this world (and my mom).
What I love about Fincher is he uses a lot of natural lighting in his movies. You’ll notice that he the shadows he has in his shots are profound, yet they provide viewers with a sense of intimacy and depth as if we’re in this room with these characters as the story unfolds. His color schemes help support this as well, as he uses a lot of greys, blacks, and browns. Matter of fact, I don’t think anything is white at all in this movie. It’s always an off white, similar to a sepia sort of filter. It’s aesthetics and techniques like this that prove how much of an Auteur Fincher truly is.
The movie does take a lot of dark routes as well in the narrative. This certainly isn’t the happiest of movies as we figure out that Nick and Amy did not have the most perfect marriage (I mean who does, am I right?!) A lot of scenes escalate with a rather grotesque climax to keep viewers on the edge of their seat. Something that the late Stanley Kubrick harped on with almost all his films. The art of the grotesque is something that not all filmmakers can pull off. To put something on the screen that makes you want to look away, and yet you can’t because you’re compelled to see the ugly truth of it. Fincher nails this in not only this movie, but a great deal of his filmography. People will talk about Fincher and what the impact he made on modern cinema. He could very well be as much of an icon in the next thirty years as Kubrick. Few American directors I feel have reached this status, in my mind. Paul Thomas Anderson, and Darren Aronofsky, maybe. But none of them in my opinion have made as much of an impact on American filmmaking as Fincher has.
Fincher has also used composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for his scores over the past few movies, and they are incredible. Each scene was brought to life even more with the eerie music and dark melodies that really sent chills up my spine. My friend who I saw the movie with said this soundtrack would be perfect to listen to while driving in the middle of winter on a snowy pitch black night with no end in sight; and by God is he right.
Gone Girl is dark, brooding, suspenseful, and hauntingly funny at times. Every actor in this movie gives an outstanding performance, ESPECIALLY Rosmund Pike. The depth of her character, both past and present, are really what makes this movie for me. Ben Affleck is awesome and he’s come a long way over these past few years as both an actor and a director. Even Tyler Perry did well. He was much like Justin Timberlake in The Social Network. You didn’t expect him to give a great performance, but damn did he exceed your expectations. I will say that Neil Patrick Harris was a bit of the weak link in this movie; but that’s not to say he was BAD. It’s just if I had to rank the performances, his would be at the bottom. But I still love the guy.
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Great
If you’re a fan of David Fincher and would follow him to Hell, or you like the novel, or just a dark mystery thriller, I highly recommend this movie. But I will warn you, as I said above there are some grotesque elements to this movie. So beware if you’re a little squeamish. Or you know, you could just suck it up for the love of film.
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