Marlborough Mid-Week : October 8th 2014
14 MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, OCTOBER 8, 2014 MOVIE Year’s best thriller a stunner Director at his peak NOW SHOWING BY MATT LAWREY Gone Girl (R16) ****1 ⁄2 L (out of five) ove, as we all know, is a feeling that comes in many shapes and sizes. There is romantic love, the love between a parent and a child, the love that siblings share, the love people have for their friends, the love they have for their pets and the love a person can have for a place, a piece of music or a sport. When it comes to sayings about love, one of the best has to be ‘‘love is blind’’. I mention this because my wife suspects it largely sums up my feelings for US film director David Fincher. I’m not ashamed to admit it – I love the man. Actually, thinking about it, that’s a bit of a strange thing to say about someone I’ve never actually met, but I definitely love his work. In fact, thinking about it, the guy had me at the opening credits to Se7en. Fincher followed his acclaimed 1995 thriller with a bunch of challenging, stylish, smart and edgy films, including The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac and The Mysterious Case of Benjamin Button. And while each of those films was a ripper in its own right, Fincher didn’t really reach the height of his powers until four short years ago when he made The Social Network. Based on the origins of Facebook, the film should have won the best picture Oscar in 2011. Desperate: Ben Affleck as Nick and Rosamund Pike as hismissing wife Amyin Gone Girl. It will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the defining films of the decade and the fact it got beaten by that snooze-fest The King’s Speech just goes to show how boring and out-of-touch the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has become. From there it was onto his stun- ning version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and now we have Gone Girl based on the best seller of the same name by Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl is the story of the disappearance of a woman named Amy, played by Rosamund Pike, on her fifth wedding anniversary. Her husband Nick, played by Ben Affleck, soon finds himself both a suspect and the subject of a media frenzy. The film is a mystery that takes an interest in subjects like marriage, law and order, the impact of the recession and power of the media. It’s a smart, psychologically brutal film for grown-ups boasting brilliant casting. I’ve always found the alluring Pike a little aloof but she makes a superb Amy with Fincher masterfully exploiting the actress’s cooler qualities to create a hugely memorable character. The director does the same with the air of quiet dissatisfaction that has always seemed to surround Affleck. In the supporting roles Carrie Coon rocks as Nick’s twin sister Margo, Kim Dickens is excellent as the detective leading the investigation and Tyler Perry is magnetic as Nick’s lawyer. The truth is every part, from the leads to the extras, is perfectly cast. Once again the cinematography by Fincher regular Jeff Cronenweth is superb as is the score by The Social Network and Dragon Tattoo veterans Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The screenplay adapted from her novel by Flynn is full of cracker lines and cynical wit, both of which bring out the best in Fincher. If the film has any faults they’re to be found in a couple of aspects of Flynn’s fiendish plot. They are, however, so small it seems unreasonable to bring them up. Ultimately, though, Gone Girl is a directing tour de force. One that will only enhance Fincher’s reputation as one of the best directors of his generation. It also confirms why I think the guy’s a genius, even if my beloved isn’t quite convinced. Bottom line – the year’s best thriller so far. PICK UP SPECIALLY MARKED COPIES OF FROM 2ND OCTOBER TO a trip for two to London to celebrate TO WIN! Downton Abbey BE IN The new season of Downton Abbey premieres 8.30pm Thursday 16th October on Prime Terms and Conditions apply, see stuff.co.nz/tvguidewin for details. Promotion runs from October 2 - 27, 2014.
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