Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★½

I somehow found myself laughing during lots of this film while the rest of the audience was eerily quiet. Do people really take this movie that deadly serious?

Gone Girl is the latest meticulously framed investigatory flick by David Fincher and it's his most pulpy and self reflexive film yet. Adapting another airport kiosk novel, Fincher elevates the material into a kind of investigation into lying/performance and how it's perceived by others. The film has a Verhoeven-esque trashiness and violence to it (à la Basic Instinct) and even sets itself up as a sort of crass and cruel couples parable.

Like Fincher's other films, Gone Girl moves at a brisk pace of going from clue to clue and person to person. This time there are intermittent flashbacks of the couple anchored by the low-decibel purr of Rosamund Pike's voice. These vignettes bifurcate the narrative and setup the push and pull between the two main characters that the audience will align with. Fincher expertly controls our expectations while lacing his film with lurid photography and lighting. Coupled with the investigation which constantly leads from lie to lie, we're forced to access an analytic part of our brain. We find ourselves constantly questioning the characters, the POV, and the legitimacy of the clues we're given(how much can you really trust a clue that comes in a big white envelope marked "CLUE"?). The camp and melodrama are BOLDLY outlined by the almost redundant script. The bar with the 'too-meta' name, Amazing Amy, "that's marriage." All of this just serves Gone Girl's ruthless and unusually hilarious game.

I've seen many people say this movie is about marriage and gender roles, which I think is taking what the script and its characters say at face value. No doubt there are many loud parallels and icons being thrown around, but I don't think Fincher is trying to show us some end-all-be-all allegory for all marriages. Gone Girl is about how people lie and put on facades to fill out predefined roles that are already written for them. Amazing Amy was always one step ahead of the actual Amy. Even the couple's untrustworthy initial encounter is filled to the brim with over-the-top performance and role play. She thought he was a 'cool guy,' so she played the role of 'cool girl.' If anything, Fincher is making a statement on lies and affectations and how maybe we all rely too much on what other people WANT to think of us.

Gone Girl ends up resembling a great many of Brian De Palma's erotic thrillers such as Body Double, Passion, and Femme Fatale. Trashy erotica, sinister tonality, cold blondes, disjointed narrative, double lives, uncomfortable hilarity, and a ludicrous third act. And just like those films, Gone Girl attempts to get under all the role playing and lying to show us what's underneath, only we get nothing. All of our answers lie inside a head covered in blonde hair. If only we could bash it open and take a look inside...

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