Brief Reviews: Gone Girl

January 22nd, 2015, 10pm

It was 10°C with few clouds. The wind was calm.

If you’ve considered seeing Gone Girl, heed your friends and don’t go with your significant other.

A winding and treacherous path through a dark and twisted world created between two people—one unwitting, the other calculating. The best part is that when the “reveal” happens, you’re left wondering how far the story still has to go—and it only continues to amaze.

The first thing I loved about Gone Girl was the score. I’m sad to note that it’s not nominated for an Academy Award in Best Original Score, because I think it’s haunting and brilliant and the perfect compliment to this truly messed up cinematic experience.

[Film nerd moment: Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails also famously did The Social Network with known-for-Fight Club director David Fincher (who also directed this). I personally wasn’t a fan of that score—it didn’t seem to fit. Gone Girl is the opposite—it fits like a glove.]

Rosamund Pike (Amy Dunne) is nominated for Best Actress and I wasn’t totally on board with the nomination until the last thirty minutes of this ambitious 2hr 29min behemoth. The revelation of Pike’s true character is both an experience for the characters of the film, and the audience—when we see her fully revealed, we are shocked, and I think that the Academy is correct to identify that playing the first 4/5ths of the character “one way” (though of course, this turns out to be untrue), then breaking the soul of that character while having to wear the same face as before is a really talented thing to do.

Speaking of length, I don’t feel the film could have been shorter without cutting meat off the bone. There wasn’t a lot of fat to trim—the movie needed time to develop and build tension in order to make the crescendos truly memorable. I think it’s become a difficult position for directors to consider the 120+ minute length unless they’re lucky enough to be making a Marvel or Tolkein movie (in which case the production companies seem happy enough to abuse the audience with as much as we can bear). This movie is unabashedly long, and it’s the right decision to give the story the necessary care needed to be told… especially with the rabid fan base of the book.

A couple last notes: Ben Affleck is vastly underrated in this role—I don’t think he’s on par with what I’m going to see in the Best Actor category, but it’s definitely a great performance (especially as counterpart to Pike). He’s getting better and better with age. Jeff Cronenweth, the cinematographer, has worked with director David Fincher on basically everything you know by him (Fight Club, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Social Network, etc.). Interestingly, this is a subdued yet stunning cinematographic work. It’s not fancy or flashy like some of the earlier films they did, but it’s still the kind of movie you watch and go: okay, that was a beautiful shot. And that one. And that one too.

Back to basics: Gone Girl is totally worth seeing. I think it’s a movie you should watch on your own—everyone is going to have their own reactions, their own sympathies with each character, and I can almost see it as a point of contention for couples who are in the room together watching this beautiful life get completely distorted and destroyed. Nonetheless, I’m glad to have finally sat down to watch it.

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Valerie Stimac

Constraints create lots of great things, diamonds and creativity among them.

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