Saturday, October 04, 2014

"Gone Girl": the straight world, bloated up with false midwestern mystery


Gone Girl”, the newest film by David Fincher, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, is going to remind people of the 2007 film that Ben Affleck actually directed (with his brother Casey, “Gone Baby Gone”).

But this time the premise is even more sinister, and bloated.  Ben Affleck plays a creative writing professor Nick Dunne at a college south of St. Louis, and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is actually a “publisher” writer of sorts, who is pretty good with keeping diaries.  On July, Amy goes missing, with some evidence of a home invasion, which the cat probably witnessed. I wanted to pull the  feline from the screen and take her home.  
   
Pretty soon, a media circus of police and a sanctimonious Nancy Grace (from “NNL”) has concocted the obvious case that Nick did away with his wife because he has a student mistress.  

As with a film a couple days ago, the fact that two of the characters are themselves writers becomes convenient for introducing backstories.  The film jumps around chronologically and shows Amy’s adventures in the Ozarks, where she is rolled once but meets up with co-conspirator and riverboat casino magnate Desi (Neil Patrick Harris), when Amy will pull a brutal surprise. On the other hand, Nick goes to New York (at mid-film) to see a high profile defense attorney (Tyler Perry) who will charge a large retainer and coach him with candy as to how to act with the media.  Patrick Fugit appears as a policeman, and appears much aged from his role in “Wristcutters: A Love Story” in 2006.
  
The couple provides an example of heterosexual self-indulgence.  They seem spoiled and oblivious to the dangers from the outside world.  They're not the sort of people to humbled themselves by volunteering in a sandbag line, whether at a food bank or for a river flood. 
      
The film was actually shot around Cape Girardeau. MO as well as the Ozarks, New York, and St. Louis.  I was in the area in December 1992 and actually did a drive west into the Ozarks, which rise suddenly from a river plain.  This is the countryside where the large New Madrid earthquakes occurred in the early 19th Century.

  
The official site (20th Century Fox) is here. Curiously, Fox did not use its Alfred Newman fanfare with its trademark, as it nearly always does.  The music from the film overlaid the trademark.  I think studios should not start the film soundtrack until they have introduced themselves.   The film is long (at 149 minutes) by today’s standards for big studio drama films. 

Wikipedia attribution link for Missouri Ozarks picture 

I saw the film at Angelika Mosaic in Fairfax Virginia, before a large Saturday afternoon audience.  

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