Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gone Girl

Yes, it works

     As other reviewers have already attested, fans of the blockbuster book Gone Girl (2012) by Gillian Flynn can rest assured that the movie version does not reinterpret, expurgate, or otherwise screw up the source material.  Though Flynn has said that she deviated somewhat from the
novel in her adaptation, I didn’t notice any major changes.  A couple of friends have said that the ending was different, but not from what I remember.  Sure, a couple of characters are not developed as fully as they were on the page, but that will mean little to new potential fans.

Rosamund Pike
      Flynn’s script hews closely to the story, which is in three acts with a coda.  For those who haven’t read the book, stop reading now because it’s difficult to describe some of the movie’s elements without giving away some of the major plot points.  A couple of women kept whispering behind us about what they thought would happen next.  I couldn’t tell if they’d read the book or not, but Neil and Paul hadn’t so I kept hoping that they couldn’t hear them and luckily they didn’t.

Ben Affleck
     The casting works excellently.  Ben Affleck as Nick does seem blank and vaguely uncertain; it’s not so much that we wonder if he’s killed Amy as whether he can focus on much of anything.  Rosamund Pike’s icy beauty retains an opaque quality that renders Amy unapproachable and horribly dangerous.  
Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry, Sela Ward, and Missi Pyle register complexity in their smaller roles.  Two actresses I haven’t seen before – Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister and main support and Lola Kirke as a young woman Amy encounters – vitally inhabit their characters.  I would like to have seen more of them, but the story precludes any detours.  The one off the map section, which takes place at an Ozarks cabin camp, has been trimmed probably for running time reasons.  

Sela Ward and Affleck
(lighting enhanced-top and actual movie lighting-bottom) 
     Paul had a problem with the lighting. Neil thought the suspense began to flag before the first major plot reversal.  I felt the very dark humor could have been further developed.  Those issues all connect to David Fincher’s direction.  Yes, his movies have been remarkable, especially Zodiac (2007) and The Social Network (2010), but the cold, blue lighting he requires from cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth keeps everything clear visually with clean lines and emotionally very remote and Neil guessed the first big surprise about ten minutes before it showed up.  

    I wondered what Ben Affleck or Jason Reitman might have done with the material because they’ve both worked with challenging, adult oriented material and found lots of humor in it with Argo (2012) and Young Adult (2011), respectively.  After all, at its base, this is a sick black comedy playing on a woman’s fear that her husband or partner plans to hurt or kill her and a man’s fear that he will be emasculated if he sticks around in a relationship.

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