Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rex Wrecks

Why do I bother?  I just looked at Rex Reed's review of the hit film Gone Girl.  He pans it in his inimitable style, where you wonder if he actually watched it all the way through.  Here's how he starts:

Preposterous, illogical, senselessly over-plotted and artificial as a ceramic artichoke, David Fincher’s Gone Girl is another splatterfest disguised as a psychological thriller about the disintegration of a murderous marriage that I find one of the year’s grossest disappointments. At one point, I turned to the woman next to me—a distinguished lady film critic—and asked, “Does any of this make sense to you?” “Not a word of it,” she replied. So why is it being drooled over by gushing websites as a “sensational hit”? The applause at the end of the screening I attended was tepid, and the reviews I’ve read are grudgingly mixed.

Spoilers ahead.

1) The film is no splatterfest.  There's practically no gore until well into the movie when Amy slits Desi's throat. In fact, that seems to be what director David Fincher was going for--after a fairly clean, non-violent movie, about two hours in suddenly we see a very bloody scene, so it's shocking.

2) I don't know how many times I've had to tell critics this: Rex, I barely care what you think of the movie.  I don't care at all what you say other think of it.  Assuming this anonymous "lady film critic" actually exists, and she wasn't just humoring you, why should I be concerned that someone else was as clueless as you?

3) He notes the reviews he's read are grudgingly mixed. (Hmm, "grudgingly"--so the critics were unhappy that they were writing something mixed, and wished it could either be a rave or a pan.) I'm not responsible for the cherry picking Rex does when he reads reviews, but I can guarantee him it's not hard to find positive reviews of Gone Girl. In fact, they considerably outnumber the thumbs down.

Rex later writes:

An innocent, naïve ex-boyfriend shows up to help [missing wife Amy] and she slits his throat with a box cutter. I offer this revelation not as a spoiler (there are more shocks to come), but to illustrate how none of this excessive plotting makes one lick of sense. It is never clear why Amy would frame Nick for her abduction and no reason why she would later lure a man to rape her violently.

1)  Innocent and naïve?  Neil Patrick Harris's character is creepy and obsessed, and he in essence kidnaps Amy.  This is pretty hard to miss, even if you snoozed through most of the screening.

2)  Reed may not offer the throat slitting as a spoiler, but it's still a pretty major one.  Of course, he earlier noted Amy is still alive and didn't even treat it as a spoiler, though it's arguably the biggest spoiler of them all.

3)  Reed's favorite phrase is "lick of sense." It's rare he writes a negative review without it.  Even if it didn't generally demonstrate he doesn't understand the plot, he should stop using it.

4)  It's never clear why Amy would frame Nick for her abduction?  She doesn't.  She tries to frame him for her murder.

5) It's never clear why she lured Desi to rape her?  First, it wasn't rape, since she insisted he do it.  Second, it's part of her scheme to slit his throat.  Third--and this is a pretty basic plot point--she can't go back to her husband without some sort of explanation.  If she just shows up, it'll be clear she tried to frame him.  So she makes it appear that Desi kidnaped her and raped her, and she was able to escape by killing him.  If you don't understand this, you shouldn't be reviewing the film.

He makes a bunch of other mistakes.  For instance, he claims Lola Kirke and Scoot McNairy play a trailer trash couple.  Actually, McNairy plays a former boyfriend that Amy framed.  But, as I said at the start, why do I bother?


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