Thoughts on the movie “Gone Girl” by David Fincher

Some minor spoilers are below.

Gone Girl is great and you should see it, albeit not on a first or even second date. The spirit and structure of the book are there, and the pivotal murder scene didn’t “feel” as much to me in the book but sure did in the movie. The casting is perfect. The theater was full and there were lines both to buy tickets and to snag a decent seat; I haven’t noticed lines for movies in years.

* The movie is by, for, and about adults, and it’s about adults in an intelligent but well-plotted way. Few modern movies even attempt to hit all those buttons; TV has primarily assumed that role. Attitudes towards and depiction of sexuality are fundamentally adult, not in a pornographic sense but rather in a post-adolescence sense that one finds more often in novels than movies.

* We are often interested, in art and life, in the concept of being “likable,” but that concept is often both poorly defined and easily manipulated. Yet it persists, and Gone Girl effectively criticizes it and criticizes the media more generally by extension the people who create the media—which is to say, “us.”

* Both movie and book work for many reasons, one being that they take existing tensions and faults in many relationships and magnify them by an order of magnitude. A lot of people will walk out of Gone Girl and into discussions about character and compromise. One does not see that in movies about saving the world, in which the good guys are obviously good and the bad guys bad for all the usual reasons.

* Though I’m usually loath to use this term, Desi is the ultimate beta male. Arguably there is no alpha male in the book or movie, with the possible exception of Tanner Bolt, and one could read book or movie as critiquing the “alpha male” ideal.

* David Fincher made Gone Girl and The Social Network, both of which are among the best movies in recent memory.

4 responses

  1. While GG is a good film, it’s a bit too long. Also, just like the book, l loved the opening and setup, but couldn’t suspend belief fully for the 2nd half plot machinations. I loved the murky cinematography, which I assume was meant to evoke Film Noir, albeit in color. Also, I was charmed by the homages to the great Hitchcock suspense films: Neil Patrick Harris’s Lake Cottage is clearly meant to evoke the highly stylized “Mt. Rushmore” house at the conclusion of “North By Northwest” (another wrongly accused tall, dark leading man, Cary Grant entwined with an icy blond, Eva Marie Saint, who may not be what see seems to be). Also, the fine electronic score during the pivotal murder scene in GG mimics the pounding music during the shower scene in Psycho.


  2. The movie was entire to long with a plot that never really want anywhere. Beside from the somewhat suspense beginning the movie had a heavy dead point in the middle of the movie that is very boring. It seem the movie was dragging the same point over and over again right into a mind turning end.


  3. Pingback: Thoughts on the movie “Birdman” « The Story's Story

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