Sunday, October 5, 2014


Nick Dunne is still young but already jaded about marriage and the one he is part of. He goes to while away a few hours with his twin sister  at the bar they run and to bitch about things like anniversary presents. After a few too many whiskeys and board games he gets back home to signs of a struggle and an absence of his wife. He calls the cops. They suspect him. As the evidence piles up and his overbearing inlaws impose upon his small town community the finger is pointed his way. Intercut with this are flashbacks and diary entries by the missing person/deceased that also get dark 'n' nasty. Does he have a name left to clear?

This story has too many spoilers to go further than that. Something that isn't a spoiler is that this is a David Fincher film so there is a whole lotta filmmakin' goin' on.

At one point in this film a character comments that calling a bar The Bar is very meta. To do that in a David Fincher film is cute enough but Gone Girl is not Fight Club or Social Network so instead of folding itself into the general metafest the line scrubs up as meta as we are aware we are watching a David Fincher film. The line is played throwaway but is key to getting to know this piece about personae public and private and that most strident of personality tests: marriage.

As a probable meta comment on this Fincher has shot big and clean this time. The silver retention shadow detail and grime-on-the-Rolex-band of everything he's done with an urban setting is absent here. And apart from some fancy footwork of the flash back and forth of the present timeline and diary scenes is kept in strict reign with titling and narration. Everything plays up front and fair. So you know there's a lot hiding in the light.

At two hours and twenty minutes Gone Girl never bores but does keep to a leisurely novelistic pace that might make Fight Club fans  restless. The pace can be wearyingly even. It can, at times, feel like three episodes of a tv series  sewn together. Then again, the evenness is clearly deliberate. It gives us a constant examiner's eye view of the events (and some do demand close inspection).

Also, it allows us time to appreciate some of the strongest film acting we will be seeing all year with everyone on screen going beyond the call. We are led into some finely wrought duplicity and are often compelled to believe accounts that we might otherwise resist and that is good reading of good writing, pure and simple. There is one moment in particular (the only detail I'll give is creme brulee) in which two characters separated by the intimate distance of a tv screen reach a perfect allignment. We don't expect it but unlikely as it would be if played poorly, we don't doubt it for a moment.

So, while my sense memory still complains about unnecessary length the delight I take in re-examining the evidence as laid so patiently out by Fincher and co resonates. We love our fictions, even those thrust upon us, but then we are compelled to.

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