Sunday, October 05, 2014

Gone Baby Gone

I saw Gone Girl last night.  Pretty well done.  Here's the headline from Ignatiy Vishnevetsky's review at the AV Club: "Gone Girl is a trick only David Fincher could pull off."

Really?  A mystery like this may be right up Fincher's alley, but aren't there a number of other directors who might have scored?  I could name several off the top of my head.

But that's not what really bothers me. It's the director-centric view that so many critics have.  I don't know if Ignatiy writes his own headlines, but doesn't a film like Gone Girl owe a lot to, oh, I don't know--its author?

The movie is based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn. It's about (no real spoilers) the sudden disappearance of a man's wife, and the circus that follows as he comes under suspicion.  And who adapted the novel into a screenplay?  None other than Gillian Flynn herself.

While the director adds a lot, it's the story, with its twists and turns, that keeps the audience gripped.  That sounds like Gillian Flynn's doing. (And I hear the film is pretty faithful--no surprise when it's adapted by the original writer.) So why is it that critics have to say it's Fincher's film, and attribute its success or failure to him.  Seems to me it's more Flynn's film.  (Meanwhile, the audience probably calls it Ben Affleck's film.)

PS  While we're at it, here's a bit from Anthony Lane's pan in The New Yorker:

What grabs Fincher about “Gone Girl,” I suspect, is not the mystery in Missouri but the sight of a media wolf pack in full cry. Hence the time that he devotes to two cable-TV hosts, played by Sela Ward and Missi Pyle, who rifle through Nick’s privacy, and his state of mind, in their lust for a story. Fincher is right: these days they are the story, and I wish that he would tell it again from their angle, through the eyes of bloggers, and via the phones of the people we see laughing outside Nick’s bar, taking selfies at a hot spot of fame

So the problem with the film is it should have been told via social networking and the like.  Maybe he's right, but here's what he said earlier this year about Chef (which I blogged about):

[T]he real subject of “Chef” is the Internet. The offending critic writes a blog post; Percy teaches Carl how to respond on Twitter; the fame of the Cubanos spreads virally; there are plugs for Facebook and Vine; and the whole cross-country trip is captured on the kid’s phone and finally put online. Worst of all are the tweets that pop up onscreen and then fly away, chirruping, like the Disney bluebirds that greeted Snow White and helped Cinderella with her gown. This digital worship, unlike the food, is flavorless and dehumanizing, and in a few years’ time it will look archaic. For now, it spoils the appetite.

In this film, all that blogging and tweeting ruins things.  Seems like the film barely matters--Lane is just never happy.  Oh well, both movies will do fine without his approval.  And I'm sure he's glad he can prove he's better than the crowd by putting down a couple of hits.


Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Sela Ward? I'm there. She's my Lizzy.

4:35 AM, October 05, 2014  

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