Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★★

If you take a look at my patterns of film watching, the reviews I post or my favorite films lists, it is quite clear that I have a cinematic love affair with David Fincher that may make some roll their eyes. The word that will come to the minds of many is "fanboy", and it is often used in a derogatory fashion as if being swept away by the work of a true auteur is somehow something to be ashamed of. Perhaps others won't quite understand the passion I share for the work of Mr. Fincher, and that is totally fine. To each their own is something I say often and truly believe in, but I implore you to not diminish the feelings of others as being some sort of blind, biased fandom that will not allow for an honest reaction. Hell, I would probably throw my panties at the man if he were to walk back at this moment, and even I had trouble staying awake during the painfully disappointing experience I had viewing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The point is, I walked into the cinema to see Gone Girl anticipating something special, and it managed to surpass the lofty expectations I had set. It wasn't merely a Fincher thing, it was fucking everything. EVERYTHING. The across the board stunning performances, the gorgeous cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth, the seamless and brilliant editing of Kirk Baxter, the absolutely pitch perfect score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that managed to suit every moment of the film, from the times we are lead to believe in true love to the blood soaked frames that successfully shake the people in the audience to their core. The brilliantly adapted screenplay by Gillian Flynn who also penned the source material the film is based on, which makes me respect her work all that much more. I can't imagine it is an easy task to take your own words and be willing to chop them up and streamline them into a perfectly paced film, but Flynn certainly was the right choice for the job.

I mentioned the performances and the casting of Gone Girl proved to be sublime, but I must zero in on one specific person and gush like a teenage boy with a crush: Rosamund Pike. I couldn't take my eyes off of her regardless of the scenario, and it occurred to me that something about her screen presence here could have worked in any era of film. Pike felt simultaneously modern and classic, like she is stunningly beautiful in 2014 and yet also would light up the screen sixty years ago the way Grace Kelly did in the Hitchcock masterpiece Rear Window. Every time she spoke, every mannerism and facial expression, all the nuance of the character and what it took to pull off the role, if her name isn't among the nominations for Best Actress at the 2015 Academy Awards I will seriously question how it could be possible for five other options to be more worthy.

The production of Gone Girl was certainly a team effort and every single player involved brought their best to their work, and the man running the show is a true genius of the medium. After witnessing the 2010 masterpiece The Social Network, I figured he had crafted that one truly enlightened work of his career that would be reflected on as his most impressive achievement, and perhaps that is still the case. For me though, Gone Girl is right there in the discussion, a defining work that will be misunderstood by some as being a simple, pulpy, sinister film about the twists and turns of a bizarre (to say the least) marriage. It is so, so much more, a thematically rich experience that delves into relevant issues like personal identity, the way we rush to make crucial judgments about others thanks to the instant access world of social media, and the comical and yet uncomfortable amount of manipulation that takes place not only by the media but also the subjects those cameras are focused on. Every word delivered is calculated, every wardrobe choice is carefully planned and every nervous tick and accidental slip up is caught by watchful eyes and used to determine the guilt of a suspect before they even have the chance to enter a courtroom.

After I saw the magnificent film Boyhood, I quickly declared it to likely be the best work of 2014 and it is certainly worthy of that distinction, but then I recall saying to someone that I should hold off on such verbose declarations because this was a year that would still deliver two films I anticipated like a kid on Christmas Eve, Gone Girl and Interstellar.

Despite my love for all things Fincher, I doubted he could actually top the Linklater masterpiece. I must revisit Boyhood because right now, still reveling in that fresh cinematic glow sprinkled on me from Gone Girl, we have a new champion of 2014.

Your move, Nolan.

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