Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Film Review: Gone Girl

20th Century Fox
All narrative art is about suspense of disbelief. This notion works on almost every level, and no film can ignore this. People shoot revolvers without reloading every ten seconds, and drive while they have long conversations when they don’t look at the road (which surprisingly easy leads to crashes in real life). 

Suspension of disbelief means that we play along and accept that things don’t need to be too realistic, first and foremost basic stuff like the passage of time – in reality, a visit to the bathroom can take up to 10 or 15 minutes in which nothing happens (well, nothing too important, usually at least), while in a film during that same time, once in a lifetime love affairs begin and end.

That is why suspension of disbelief is fine with me. But Gone Girl moves is one gigantic a continuation of disbelief that stomps on reality until there is nothing left by a fine powder that gets swept away by the laborious David Fincher. This director is by no means a stranger to hits and misses. He ended the 90’s as one of the visionaries of this weird decade where movies didn’t get things like the Internet, but tried hard. Just two years after Fight Club, a film that might be one of the key works of cinematic works art in this period, Fincher made Panic Room, a complete disaster of low ambitions and emotional detachment.

Now, he sees like he was hell bent on connecting us to the characters in Gone Girl, but somewhere along the way, reason got left eating ice cream, confused and alone on a gas station, while Fincher’s van sped forward. In this van, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike play a young married couple living in Missouri. One day, husband Affleck returns home and find wife Pike missing. He finds signs of struggle and calls the cops. Soon, a huge media spectacle begins and the audience is forced into reading characters and devising who is or isn’t a sociopath or a psychopath (hey, aren’t those two the same – no, they are not). Movies like Cold Comes the Night present psychopaths in a convincing manner, but this one definitely doesn't do the same.

Fincher was very good at making me like or dislikes a character, until I realized that this wasn’t there to help the film, this was the film. As the perspectives shift, so does the plot begin to unravel into more and more preposterous waters, where desperate improvisation leads to perfect, FBI-fooling crimes. Yes, the film is dynamic and fun, and it pulls the viewer in, but at one point, I felt like I wanted to go out, and the shallow plot couldn’t do a thing to keep me in.

I’m sure that every Gone Girl review will praise Rosamund Pike and her performance. I am also sure that we will see more of her in leading roles and at the same time, see more of her body in magazines and stuff like that. In fact, I suspect that Gone Girl movie will be remembered as her stepping stone (I hope that it does the same to Neil Patrick Harris, who was also very good), which is fine, but David Fincher should definitely ask himself is his talent really well suited for these kinds of endeavors.