Some have said Gone Girl is the story of modern marriage; others, fairly, note feature films including Play Misty for Me, Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction have undertones of misogyny which don’t represent society and wonder if Gone Girl is cut from the same cloth. But it is neither.
In the second Moviedrome Guide that accompanies his introduction to Play Misty for Me in the sixth TV series from 1993, Alex Cox wrote about the above the tendency of those films:
“…from the point of the gigantic multinationals that own the studios, lies can be very valuable – by reinforcing sexual and racial stereotypes, thereby marginalizing and disempowering sections of the community which might otherwise seek social change and alter the nature of the market-place.”
But as as he recently reminded us, Ben Affleck wouldn’t willingly be in that type of film and David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is an enjoyable film, not based on stereotypes, but on a devious, manipulating and perverse individual character that we occasionally encounter in real life, avoid at all costs and pity for those that don’t see through the menace and lies.
As a film Gone Girl flourishes on a number of levels. As a thriller it is paced well, with revelations unfolding at timely intervals and a hot dark lava always bubbling under. It satirises bad US news channels who prejudge legal matters with clear implication followed by opinion passed off as fact. And, for a cold matter, it is a warm film. It could be easy to have caricatures in the roles of a coffee-drinking lead detective and a brash highly paid lawyer, but Kim Dickens and Tyler Perry are excellent co-stars respectively, both with a great screen presence and smooth comic timing.
Apart from some corny dialogue at a party in one of the early scenes in the film, Affleck’s Nick Dunne is a likeable lead, which is a nice contrast as the viewer is drip fed a growing charge list against him and the walls close in on him like a fall guy in a Hitchcock movie.
But rather than a studio influenced film which forced Hitchcock to change key details in adaptations like Rebecca, Gone Girl’s dark side has more in common with modern American film noir’s like The Last Seduction, but with a more glossy feel, from another Fincher beach house after Girl with The Dragon Tattoo to the thrills of the second season of House of Cards. And Gone Girl has the touch of quality from the best of US TV dramas, while making an impact on the big screen.
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