Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Long gone: Is Fincher’s twisty adaptation an awards-season contender?

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | October 21st, 2014

WARNING: The following review reveals key plot information. Read only if you have seen “Gone Girl.”

Gillian Flynn, author of the bestselling novel “Gone Girl,” hit the Hollywood jackpot. She A) got to adapt her own screenplay without having to share any screen credit; B) had the fortune of finding David Fincher at the directorial helm; C) saw her characters brought to life by talent like Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike; D) all of the above. At its best, Flynn’s page-turner explores the domestic battle for control and the struggle for married partners to live up to and/or fulfill masculine and feminine expectations. At its worst, the book is a trashy, outlandish potboiler that embraces many of the clichés of the mystery thriller genre.

Flynn’s novel, which alternates between the voices of shitty husband Nick Dunne (Affleck) and psychotic wife Amy Elliott Dunne (Pike), recounts the variety of ways each spouse has been wronged by the other. When Amy disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary, Nick is – obviously, perfectly, absolutely – the principal suspect. Flynn borrows the twist from Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Vertigo,” revealing on page 219 (of 415) that Amy is alive, with the words “I’m so much happier now that I’m dead.” Turns out Amy meticulously planned the ruse, staged the crime scene, and planted overwhelming evidence against her husband before lamming it. At this point some readers struggle with the placement of their allegiance.

Fincher’s movie retains Flynn’s shifting perspectives, but the faithful presentation of the events in the novel in the same order in which they occur on the page biases the viewer on behalf of Nick (I had hoped, like some readers, that Fincher might have taken the opportunity to mess around with the chronology). As a result, there is very little Pike can do to bring the inscrutable Amy to life as a thoroughly realized, recognizably human character. She’s as icy as Sharon Stone’s fellow writer Catherine Trammell and Kim Novak’s manipulative Madeleine Elster, just not as captivating. Even if Flynn and Fincher are suggesting we aren’t supposed to know Amy, the ploy doesn’t entirely pan out.

It’s not fair to compare Flynn’s dialogue to the wizardry of Aaron Sorkin, whose invented conversations in “The Social Network” make most of the chatter in “Gone Girl” sound like reheated leftovers from an old Lifetime movie. Fincher also had the good sense to limit the entire history of the origins of Facebook to two swiftly paced hours, while “Gone Girl” bobs along at a more leisurely 149 minutes. Fortunately, the late arrivals of Tyler Perry as a smooth defense attorney and Neil Patrick Harris as one of Amy’s old boyfriends inject a refreshing shot of winking “can you believe this?” mirth when it is most needed.

The most ardent defenders of “Gone Girl” will make claims about Fincher’s interest in exploring gender roles, the pressures brought to bear (on the upper class no less!) by the flaccid economy, and the ways in which the media distorts reality. My inclination is to focus instead on the things that really worked in the transfer of novel to movie: the ridiculous and over-the-top streaks of black comedy that threaten to align the film with the likes of lurid “erotic mystery thrillers” like “Fatal Attraction,” “Basic Instinct,” “Sliver,” “Color of Night,” and “Jade.” “Gone Girl” is better than most of those movies, but not as good as Fincher’s finest. 

Recently in:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Savanna’s Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on Friday and will move to the U.S. House of Representatives.The bill, S. 1942, is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.comI held it off for as long as I could, but the other day, I caved. I thought I was doing okay. I made all the strong arguments. I applied the five canons of rhetoric, just like you’re supposed…

Wednesday, December 12, 6 - 8 p.m.The Historic Holmes Theater, 806 Summit Avenue, Detroit LakesJoin legendary singer-songwriter Larry Long and Friends, along with Winona LaDuke for an evening of music and storytelling to benefit…

Title X was established in 1970 and is the only federal family planning program that provides grants to a number of providers of family planning and related health services. It was designed to provide information, supplies and…

What Is The Fastest Growing Religion?Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center and the Hartford Institute for Religious Research indicate that one in four Americans do not belong to any religion. In fact, the largest…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

It was Tuesday night, not an average night for a date, but with busy schedules you eat when time allows. I had been eyeing 46 North since in utero, the concept of pints and provisions is more easily stated by bar and grill, but…

Music

Midwest roots

by Sabrina Hornung

When Iowa born roots musician William Elliott Whitmore describes his latest album “Kilonova,” he likens it to a mixed tape, it’s all covers ranging from Magnetic Fields to Captain Beefheart, Jimmie Driftwood and more. He said…

Based on the subject’s candid memoir, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” pulls back the curtain on the sexual escapades of Scotty Bowers, longtime bartender, World War 2 Marine Corps veteran, and pimp/arranger on…

“If I go to France and eat French food and write like the French. When I was in Yugoslavia I was working as a Yugoslavian. When I went to Paris for three years I worked with a French influence. Then I came here and I become…

by Nataly Routledgenatalyroutledge@googlemail.comMOORHEAD—Do you like theater? Do you have about 85 minutes of spare time? If your answers to these questions were yes, then it would be advantageous for you to know about Theater…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comphotography by Logan MacraeEver wish you could go to your favorite brewery without leaving your house? Finally, you can (sort of). Kilstone Brewing is now doing limited can releases of some…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

“(Søren) Kierkegaard…has opened our eyes to the shallowness of much of our pseudo-Christian life, and to the outright deception in politics which Christianity has been made to serve.” - William Hubben“The people starve…