Friday, 3 October 2014

All I'm trying to do is be nice

Gone Girl (2014)

A plot which plays out for the most part much as you'd expect with red herrings, twists and rather ridiculous pulpy nonsense is given stylish gravitas by solid film making and a canny story which ties those out there revelations into something approaching a character study. The twists play better when reinforcing thematic depth but are helped by two very strong performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
Once again Fincher handles a lengthy running time without too much dull padding, always confidently in control of the image on screen but less showy than some of his previous efforts, allowing the cast to pull the dramatic weight.
However it has a deeply troubling aspect to it which I can't really get into without revealing major plot points, though a viewing of the trailer could tip you off to this twist, which comes half way through the film thankfully, anyway. 
So read on past the picture of the crying baby if you wish. 

So it happens that Rosamund Pike is of course not dead, not kidnapped. She has run off to frame Ben Affleck for her murder. Unfortunately this unbalances the ethical weighting of the leads, Affleck's supposed nice man is revealed to be in an affair, prompting this plan, but Pike is generally just 'movie crazy'. 
In the current climate of women being abused online, threatened with rape and murder it's a little galling to see a plot run out the old trope of "yep, the ladies love to lie about being raped, spousal abuse claims are made up all the time"
Sure it's the story this film is telling, it's not it's job to be an ambassador and as I mentioned above I like the way it uses this as metaphorical fodder for examining the way we lie to each other and ourselves, making it deeper than some Law and Order case of the week. But it's uncomfortable (which im sure it wants to be), perhaps because Affleck's character is not given similar transgressions, the affair aside, he's pretty much a decent chap and the movie goes out of it's way to root for him.

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