Gone Girl Screen 32 articles

Gone Girl

2014

Gone Girl Poster
  • David Fincher’s new movie of this best-selling novel sees Flynn’s cynicism and raises it considerably by filming it with his usual trendy iciness, trudging along through 150 minutes of unfussy yet artfully precise compositions only to reach what appears to be its single insight. “All we did was resent each other and cause each other pain,” he says. “That’s marriage,” she says. Instead of a cool-blue filter, put a laugh track on it and it might as well be Married…with Children.

  • Fincher likely prides himself on turning coal into diamonds at this point, but Flynn's script can feel so retrograde at times that one wonders whether it might have been better served by a De Palma, Bigelow, or even a Verhoeven — which is to say, a filmmaker less concerned with making the lascivious seem prestigious. (It's doubtful anyone else could have filmed a certain blood-soaked scene with such unsettling verve, however.)

  • Mr. Fincher, for all his modern themes and bleeding-edge technologies, is a classicist, and in “Gone Girl,” he creates a sense of Nick’s subjectivity the usual way, mostly by placing the camera next to the character and deploying point-of-view shots that are seamlessly integrated with shots of, and generated by, other characters... [but] by the movie’s second half, you may wish that Amy would stay gone.

  • Fincher’s precision-tooled direction (aided by the burnished imagery of his usual cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth) and the strong performances of Affleck and the other actors deliver a drama that’s steadily engrossing and essentially credible. In the tale’s second half, though, the whole enterprise tiptoes out onto a slippery slope leading downward toward unintended absurdity, and its earlier surefootedness falters.

  • As murder mystery, Gone Girl abounds in minutiae, in speculation, clues, witness testimony, and news reportage... Fincher's detachment is fitting here only insofar as he's dealing with characters who are always on guard. But there's detachment, and then there's disinterest.

  • Fincher’s adaptation bears all of the filmmaker’s trademark precision, his impeccable ability to conjure dread in the most seemingly benign locales of the Show Me State heightened by the terror-drone composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who’ve collaborated with the director since The Social Network (2010). His film is a perfect, soulless machine in service to a likewise impressively crafted, hollow novel.

  • I’ve only seen about half of [Fincher's] main features, partly because he strikes me as more of a metteur en scène than an auteur... That’s why, like [Daniel Kasman], I think of this as a Gillian Flynn movie as much as I do a David Fincher film. I wasn’t crazy about it, mostly because all of the narrative morphing and shifting audience awareness that you talk about made me question whether or not the filmmakers were always in control of the picture’s tone.

  • Gone Girl is not Fincher at his frozen-lake smoothest. He seems off, imprecise. Fincher is a director of space and a conjurer of atmosphere. He can make a scull pulling itself along an open river as remarkable as men chasing each other through alleyways in a downpour... But Gone Girl’s opening hour is antsy and looks dulled. It’s strange how little any of the Midwest’s flatness and sameness — the hills, planes, parking lots, anonymous faces, the corporate Americana — seems to interest Fincher.

  • Fincher is a throwback all right, but he doesn’t go much further back than the release of Pretty Hate Machine. For all of Fincher’s marvelous control, I can’t look past the accumulation of Nineties tropes that riddle his filmography, a particular form of PTSD that comes with having gone through adolescence in that era. It’s in his ex-music video director’s fetish for urban/industrial desolation. It’s in his serial killer chic. It’s in his marketable, unreflective conception of female agency...

  • It plays to me as a humorless artist’s failed attempt at making a funny. I can’t say I wasn’t compelled, but many is the scene where I longed for Paul Verhoeven or Brian De Palma’s wackadoo tonal perversity over Fincher’s propulsive yet studied classicism—a roller coaster moving only and ever in a rigid straight line.

  • I, for one, couldn’t get past Fincher’s sallow harnessing of the material’s sordid cynicism, and would have enjoyed it more had it been directed by, say, John Waters, or shared more in common tonally with Eating Raoul (1982), Paul Bartel’s riotously tacky satire of bourgeois coupledom.

  • That’s the theme of the film: just how crazy is she? And how did she get that way? Who caused it? Or was she born that way? Fincher allows enough ambiguity here that the film brings up fascinating themes of co-dependency, abuse, financial need and “likeability.” Though, thriller tropes steal the air from this ambiguity to an infuriating degree.

  • If the first half of Gone Girl aims to create a more or less realistic atmosphere of Hitchcockian menace, the second half surrenders to a reckless, high-camp pulpiness. Amy’s sociopathy functions rather as dream sequences do in other movies: it makes anything possible.

  • Gone Girl isn’t a provocation, it’s playing the part of a provocation, and all the while smugly congratulating itself on its ability to commit to nothing except its own immaculate, frictionless surface.

  • Fincher and Flynn jettison the balanced 50/50 POV split from the novel and filter the majority of the narrative through Nick’s perspective. This simplifies the story but also flattens Amy into a sociopathic cipher, one who can too easily be dismissed as a hysterical female. But Rosamunde Pike’s performance is ferociously controlled, betraying no loss of agency.

  • All the zaniness you point to and criticize I think is kept in check by Fincher's sleek, grounded style: the movie is consistent in one way up to the first twist, and then consistent in a second way afterwards. The director's literal-mindedness contains the story absurdity but also is able to contort the tone in an interesting way reminiscent of some of the abrupt tonal changes in South Korean genre cinema.

  • Not necessarily misogynistic, but definitely unbalanced, in that it ultimately equates a philandering schmuck with a murderous sociopath, prodding us to conclude that they deserve each other... The two-and-a-half hours whiz by, but that's mostly a testament to first-rate pulp plotting and Fincher's sure hand (though this is easily his blandest film, formally speaking).

  • The plot seems quite trashy, with some far-fetched twists, but director David Fincher turns it into a moody, mordant showcase for some fascinating subjects. Living in a self-conscious world, as already mentioned. The war between men and women. The unspoken primacy of money in America. And, most importantly, control, a favourite Fincher theme since the days of Seven and The Game.

  • Gone Girl is mass entertainment doused with satire and constructed with surgical technique—snipping here, suturing there, until it veritably purrs. The editing, the Ozarks-through-a-lens-darkly compositions, the staticky score: everything points toward a common, malign end point, toward a burlesque of TV, true love, and happy endings. (Had Fincher's collaborator Trent Reznor not already used it a quarter-century ago, Pretty Hate Machine would make a pretty apt alternative title.)

  • This is a faultlessly speedy work, slicing and dicing scenes into their most pertinent details in quick close-ups and quicker conversations. In the many long dialogue scenes, Fincher finds a dozen or more angles that go way beyond shot-reverse shot to keep your eye constantly straining to keep up and mentally suture the fast-changing new perspectives to the consistently sped-up dialogue.

  • Gone Girl is [Fincher's] most precise film, if not his best, and proves that he can best any source through sheer force of will and pure cinematics... [But] it's a film without a center. Without a soul. Good as it is, slick and entertaining and provocative, it can never transcend that absence.

  • Transformed into the kind of wickedly confident Hollywood thriller you pray to see once in a decade, Gillian Flynn's absorbing missing-wife novel emerges... as the stealthiest comedy since American Psycho. It's a hypnotically perverse film, one that redeems your faith in studio smarts... No secrets will be revealed here, apart from an obvious one: Director David Fincher, also the maker of Seven, Zodiac and The Social Network, is more than just your everyday stylish cynic.

  • [Fincher's] previous feature, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, looked into ideas of the essential unknowability of other people and the fluid nature of trust within the framework of a twisty potboiler. These were the film's ultimate revelations. With Gone Girl, these ideas form the basis of the entire movie, the lifeblood rather than the byproduct. It uses them as an engine for its narrative convulsions, but also as a way to say something profound about where we are as a race.

  • With an unflagging pace, Fincher makes this material elegant through his peerless mise en scène. There’s a breathtaking cut from an engagement kiss to Nick getting his tongue swabbed by the police. The varied visual styles contrast the seediness and desperation of small-town Missouri with the posh elegance to which Amy has grown accustomed.

  • Unusually, Flynn the novelist is also the screenwriter. She has handled the necessarily ruthless reduction of material with wit and sharpness. Though she works in a mainstream style, and is more interested in keeping you gripped than in allowing her themes to resonate, she creates as interesting a critique of modern marriage as, say, Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road did for the 1950s variety.

  • Like the Paul Verhoeven movies it occasionally resembles, Gone Girl is a satire that doubles as tightly styled, perverse entertainment—a deconstructed thriller with a bop-bop-bop drum-machine pace, which builds to one of the sourest, most hopeless downer endings in recent memory. Fincher’s style—with its looming ceilings and motel-murder-scene lighting—can make something as simple as a man going out for a cup of coffee look like a procedural.

  • Lest anybody doubt that Gone Girl is a comedy, consider that it includes, in no particular order: a scene where America’s favourite bad actor Ben Affleck is coached on his line readings by a character played by a well-known Hollywood film director (Tyler Perry)... Skillfully rewritten by Gillian Flynn from her own best-selling novel and elegantly directed by David Fincher, Gone Girl is, for the reasons listed above and a whole host of others, very, very funny.

  • It's a plot-obsessed picture that's determined to stay one step ahead of the audience at all times, and cheats when it feels it has to. It is a perfect example of a sub-genre that the great critic Anne Billson has labeled "the preposterous thriller," in which "characters and their behavior bear no relation not just to life as we know it, but to any sort of properly structured fiction we may have hitherto encountered."

  • The movie’s script, by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the novel, pares down both the discursive and expressive rhetoric of the book as well as its psychology. I suspect that part of the book’s appeal is its underlying mythic power. Fincher unleashes that primordial, archetypal fury along with its cosmic irony, making a movie that is a tragedy of our time.

  • What is exceptionally clever about Gone Girl, again both novel and film, is that its second half replaces the murderous-husband schema with a revelation of Amy as a spider woman. [By asking for help from Desi Collings,] Amy re-creates the lethal-husband scenario and recruits Desi as her helper male. Of course in most such plots, the helper male rescues the woman from peril. Here she _is_ the peril.

  • Tragedies and thrillers, even preposterous ones, are not designed to make you laugh... The absurdity, its laughableness, is a necessary part of the film. [Gone Girl is a domestic comedy] in the classic, Shakespearean sense — it is a story that tilts and swerves, yet resolves, in the end, in marriage.

  • Flynn herself adapted the book, and her screenplay displays a remarkably judicious whittling process, as well as a keen notion of what would and wouldn't play on the screen versus the page. Both she and Fincher smartly craft the film as if expecting most of the crowd to know the big second act twist going in, and that frees her to focus on the various knife twists that imbue even the most tossed-off exchanges with menace and suspicion.

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