Gone Girl: Complexity Cut in Half

gone girl

One of the downfalls about seeing a highly anticipated film is the expectations that sometimes end up falling short. The anticipation and hype wasn’t the only reason Gone Girl didn’t reach the mark it seemed to promise, but perhaps because I finished Gilliam Flyn’s novel the day before.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the film. It’s entertaining, but after I left the theater, I tried remembering some of the shots that stood out. The risky, uncomfortable camera angles that often stay with viewers after a movie ends. As for cinematography, there weren’t any I could point out automatically. There were, however, some well choreographed scenes worth remembering. Like when Amy (Rosamund Pike) stages a desperate, bloody breakdown. Besides Pike’s key performance, the high camera angle and use of color is what brings this specific picture together. Here, Amy wears a cream colored silk nightgown and when the blood from her wounds seeps through the silk, the contrasted dark red against the white makes a haunting image. One that made me wince, turn away, but more importantly made me remember the sequence afterwards and wonder why it worked so well.

Another scene like this is when Amy constructs her master plan to escape her ex-boyfriend’s house. The precision in the shot sequence is the slow way it moves at first. The music is low and Amy moves with Desi ( Neil Patrick Harris) in a sly and graceful way, but then things are kicked up ten notches as the music turns louder and demanding, as does Amy when blood is spilled all over her pale body once again. The image is captivating—the crimson color splashed across a beautiful woman—and one that again made me turn away, but circle back to when the film was over.

For those who haven’t read Flynn’s Gone Girl, I’m sure they are very surprised once we learn more about Amy and the plot shift she creates. I even heard a few gasps from the audience as Amy’s voice-over starts the story from the beginning. The real story.  For me, I wanted to see a drastic change in style; however, I did enjoy Amy’s car rides and deserted hide away scenes compared to the previous of husband Nick ( Ben Afflack) who sulks around his house acting strange. In relation to the novel, David Fincher does a very nice job of keeping viewers on the outside and revealing the truth in a sudden, yet strong way. The other issue I saw was the lack of Amy’s rounded character that was present in the novel. Flynn even wrote the screenplay and I’m sure it’s hard to create a complex charter in half the words, half the time. But still, there are some medium-sized holes that need filling. I don’t think we are supposed to pity Amy but I do think the novel makes a point to show with a very extreme example, what happens when humans, especially woman, try to be a certain way to please men. Amy’s situation or the aftermath of it seems like one big, smart hyperbole. She takes a sucky situation a lot of women face and goes to extremes by punishing the one person who fooled her into becoming someone she wasn’t. We hear it in the movie a few times, the reference to ” cool girl”, except I think we need to hear it much more. It’s endless in the second half of the novel, the way Amy admits she tried to be that girl that is completely fictional and whether or not Flynn meant for it to be a solid message about forcing change, I feel the film could have made it more of a reoccurring issue. Instead, we tend to only see Amy as a psychotic bitch that brings on the most gripping and interesting moments. After reading an exclusive interview with Fincher in Film Comment the interviewer even stated, “ I just can’t understand Team Amy. I see it as a movie about a basically nice guy who falls for a crazy woman.” Fincher responds saying she isn’t crazy, but made crazy. However, the interviewer proves that is not how the film portrays its most interesting character. After all, every scene worth rewinding involves Amy, a sharp object, and blood.

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