Tag Archives: Fincher

Gone Girl

2 Oct
Ben Affleck's smile at press junkets caught director David Fincher's eyes and helped him get the role of Nick Dunne

How does one even have a go at Gone Girl? Anyone who’s read Gillian Flynn’s wildly popular novel — she penned the script as well — knows there’s some pretty well-laid change-ups within the story line, and we’re not even talking about the plot twist that comes sailing in at the end of the book. No, we’re talking about subtle turns of the screw that change and redirect context and the viewer’s orientation, forging an ephemeral, yet enjoyable immersion into the rapture of intrigue. So, I’ll tread carefully.

As the title implies, a woman goes missing under some curious circumstance and her husband’s innocence or culpability in the matter hangs in the balance. Gone Girl, much like Denis Villeneuve’s dark and foreboding Prisoners (2013), isn’t so much about solving the mystery at the fore, but the potpourri of personalities that drive and shape it. It’s an interesting comparison too, because the bleak rainy sheen that Villeneuve renders inPrisoners conjures up ominous shades of some of David Fincher’s more macabre works, namely Zodiac and Se7en.

Given Fincher’s running success with cinematic adaptations of bestsellers (Fight Club, The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) the pairing would seem perfect, but invariably an assembly of ideals doesn’t always guarantee a victory. That’s not to say Gone Girl doesn’t work — far from it — but it is somewhat hampered by the continual churn of machinations and the inherent contrivances imbued in Flynn’s yarn. That said, the vestige of under-the-table trickery is aptly scant, and Fincher is far too accomplished a director to stumble into cliche. At his core, he’s a stylist who’s mellowed over the years. The frenetic flash cutting that generated smash-mouth kinetics in Fight Club and Se7en have been supplanted by the haunting aural moodiness composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who won an Academy Award for their collaboration with Fincher on The Social NetworkContinue reading

The Game

17 Mar

R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 09/18/1997,

The Game

David Fincher’s grandiloquent mind fuck works tirelessly to maintain its heightened, if heavily engineered, state of paranoia. The film’s relative success lies in the dark, eerie moodiness that the director elevated to an art form in Seven. Here, however, his visual palette barely masks a slight, manipulative plot.

As Nicholas Van Orton, Michael Douglas resurrects his Wall Street creep, Gordon Gekko, except this time Douglas’s scrutinizing power broker has a hole in his life: he lacks love and excitement. So for his 48th birthday, Nicholas’s loopy black-sheep brother Conrad (Sean Penn catching minimal screen time) gives him a gift certificate for a high-concept gaming experience, a personalized adventure that comes to the player. Nicholas’s endeavors are surprisingly mundane as he is plagued by a series of minor life tragedies and near-Twilight Zone encounters that imply something larger and more devious is at work. The rocky blur between reality and fantasy aspires to be a Hitchcockian After Hours, but at two hours plus, The Game gets played out early on. Douglas and Penn help keep things credible with solid performances, and Deborah Kara Unger extends the sexual immediacy of her Crash role by playing the object of desire who doesn’t wear any panties.