Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Amazing Amy is Gone - Anticipating Gone Girl

By Sati. Wednesday, August 6, 2014 , , , ,

 (all the spoilers are written in light font, to read them highlight the text)

"When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call a finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily. I’d know her head anywhere. And what’s inside it. 

I think of that, too: her mind. Her brain, all those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast, frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: 

What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"

- the opening lines of Gone Girl

Almost exactly a year ago I made this post about The Counselor, which turned out to be a massive pile of shit and even managed to make Michael Fassbender look horribly unattractive. Now I'm anticipating yet another movie and since I've just recently read the book and I'm too tired to come up with anything else to post, let's talk about Gone Girl.

Why have I brought up The  Counselor? Because back then I was also familiar with the source material before seeing the film - I read the script by Cormac McCarthy and what was not all bad on paper turned into one huge embarrassment of a movie. It doesn't look like it's gonna be the case with Gone Girl which has far, far superior story and the director behind it. Also, unlike with The Counselor, I think the Oscar buzz for this movie may actually amount to something. Because if Rosamund Pike is given anything less than a flood of nominations and wins then either she or Fincher screwed up. To play a character like THAT and not do her justice would be criminal.
The book is written in a quite a challenging way - a husband, Nick Dunne, discovers his wife is gone. The next chapter is a diary entry of his missing wife, Amy, detailing the past events of their relationship. Then we move to Nick again, then to diary, then Nick, diary and so on, until a bit later than halfway through there is change in narrative, one that may be a challenge to show on screen.

How will they do this? So much of the story dynamics, especially the 3rd act, which as thought provoking as it is, works solely because of those detailed inner monologues we are privy to read. How will it translate to screen? We get to read these people thoughts so I think we may be in for some lengthy voice over from Amy, but with Nick? We may rely on his face letting us know what he is thinking and hopefully Affleck is game for that. I feel this is his last chance to stop being ridiculed as an actor.
But in the meantime, here are the most awesome things to look forward to:

The score
yet again composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. While I'm not the biggest fan of this kind of music - the one that goes with the movie but is almost impossible to listen to outside of it, I'm sure that they'll do a great job and hopefully there will be at least one memorable track again, as was the case with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The cast
despite a lot of eye brows being raised when the choices for the characters were announced, the casting is actually brilliant. Ben Affleck's Nick is described as the guy whose face you want to punch. Just look at him. Neil Patrick Harris is a wonderful choice for his creepy, posh character and Emily Ratajkowski's Andie was described as 'an alien fuck doll of a girl' in the book. Accurate is accurate. Hell, even Tyler Perry looks like the right choice for confident and brilliant lawyer defending Nick. Then there's a completely unknown to me Carrie Coon who is going to play a wonderful character of Nick Dunne's twin sister. And Pike? That is a fantastic choice.
How misleading the trailers are
we haven't seen a single glimpse of the story's biggest twists and turns in either of the trailers. Not even a glimpse of the scene that the twists take place in. Hell, they are even sneaking in red herrings there. Short of horrible posters, the marketing is brilliant.

The script is written by the author of the book
the worst thing to say about adaptation is that the choices made by those adapting it are nowhere near as great or even coherent as the choices made by the author of the source material nor are they justified (*coughs* Game of Thrones *coughs*). Fortunately, here it's the author of the book herself writing the script.
The changes
while I do think the book is incredible - but not flawless, the third act is quite sloppy and the whole Jeff/Greta subplot is incredibly boring and insulting to the character involved, I'm excited to see if Flynn will take this opportunity to develop some story arcs and scenes some more, mostly the book's controversial ending which ends in quite an open way. Something is said and you just know one day, maybe even this day, there will be consequences to this.

It's David Fincher's film
Need I say more?
The scavenger hunt
this is such a clever plot device - Amy goes missing on the day of hers and Nick's 5th anniversary. Just like she did every previous year, she prepared a quest for him before she was gone - 5 clues, each being a new message for him, new riddle to solve based on their past experiences. It's such a fun and clever way to keep Nick looking for Amy and clues, instead of just waiting for the cops. It also has several mysteries and revelations attached to it.

The twists and the turns
There have been surprises in The Girl with the dragon Tattoo but not since Fight Club had Fincher had an opportunity to drop a plot twist this massive on the audience. It's actually a series of plot twists that come one after one but the one in particular is just mind blowing.   When I think of the story I actually can't stop thinking of one of my favorite movies SPOILERS I can just hear Walter Sobchack say this fucking bitch, this fucking whore, she kidnapped herself! END OF SPOILERS There's also a box that includes something creepy. Hm....where did we see that before?

The character of Amy Elliott Dunne
I truly think Rosamund Pike was born to play that role. She is very pretty but there is something not quite right - her eyes sometimes looking very cold, her smile not quite sincere. As Amy she may have a chance to play everything - every single emotion there is. It's a little bit like Betty and Diane from Mulholland Drive and what is my favorite performance of all time - Naomi Watts' work as these two sides of one coin - there are so many versions of Amy and only one of them is real. Having seen Pike as unhappy wife in Fugitive Pieces, cheerful, charming and elegant girl in An Education (a performance that should have been Oscar nominated) and naive, loving blonde in love in Pride and Prejudice, I have no doubt that this will the role of the year. Pike is someone who can look stunning and at other times mousy. She can look incredibly innocent in one moment and sinister, dead inside, dangerous in another. She is Amy.

SPOILERS
Rosamund Pike, photographed by David Fincher for W magazine
Amy is such a complex character and as I read the book I had all those different emotions towards her - contempt, pity, admiration. I found myself agreeing with her and being impressed - if my partner cheated on me, let alone when I was in my late 30s and he had an affair with a young girl and I had an opportunity to do what Amy did, I'd do that, no hesitation. Hell, that situation where he blows off their anniversary and gets drunk and then says ;'fuck you' to her? I'd throw the piece of shit's clothes off the balcony and kicked him out. But then I was also repulsed by her - by her lying that her father molested her just so she could manipulate Desi more and with her actually abusing herself with wine bottle every day to make it look like she was raped. That was disturbing,. Framing your asshole husband for disrespecting you? Nah, I can get that. This stuff? That's just plain monstrous.

I hope Amy's remarks and thoughts, especially her 'Cool girl' monologue and her utter contempt for most people (all people?) in her life will be in the movie. I found myself agreeing with a lot of her thoughts - about how pregnant women are wrong in feeling superior to others, about how each man basically just wants a woman who lets him do anything he wants. I was also a bit shocked she didn't do anything to Andie. I'm gonna sound like a disturbed person, but it's the truth - I'd go after her.
Amy is such a fascinating character - Molotov cocktail of brilliance, narcissism, being disturbed beyond imagination, displaying constant need for praise, approval, admiration, but also someone who is always wanting more and is chronically unhappy. Her brilliance makes her admirable, but all the other stuff thrown in turns her into pure evil. Fascinating evil, but the kind of evil that really creeps you out, sends shivers down your spine, makes you wince when it touches you. END OF SPOILERS

Rooney Mara was just splendid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Her Lisbeth is an amazing character. She is an avenging angel, she is unique, she is one of a kind. But Amy? There are thousands of Amys out there, just not quite on her level. SPOILERS But Amy Dunne's brilliance and patience singles her out. In a horribly, horribly unsettling kind of way.END OF SPOILERS

The film opens in early October and has its world premiere on the opening night of New York film festival. It's just a perfect material for Fincher - the kind of thing that might have been written just for him to direct. And I'm thrilled that after years of being underrated Rosamund Pike is going to have her big break at last.

22 comments:

  1. I am so very excited for this movie, mostly for all of the reasons you mentioned! I haven't read the book, but I got the ending spoiled for me on Twitter :/ I've read some excerpts from it though, and it seems fantastic. I think Rosamund Pike is perfect for the character and like you I am so pleased that she is getting a big break after excelling in movies for such a long time. I especially love what you wrote about Amy being a Molotov cocktail, that was brilliant!!

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    1. Oh man that sucks :/ You should read the book, it's so well written and the characters are so complex. I don't think I ever read about a character as complex as Amy, she is like several different characters put in one but with consistency.

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  2. I cannot wait for this! Having read the script (yes, I have that one too), I'm all in for this. I haven't read the book, but from the script, I actually think that Nick is the best character, has the biggest arc and really should produce the greatest performance, so I'm all for Ben Affleck (perfect casting).

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    1. Oooh, could you hook me up with this one too? i think it must be an early draft, though, because the author wants to change stuff around and was working on it pretty much till the last minute. Nick is a good character but maybe it's because I'm a woman I just wanted someone to cut his dick off. I felt bad for him at times but...what an asshole.

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  3. I can't wait for Gone Girl.. this will be my movie of 2014, I'm sure of it. And since it's Fincher, I know he won't disappoint. Reading the book was a good decision I think, it does kind of spoil the big reveal in the end but you know what, I'm most excited to see the development of the character by knowing what's going to happen because I secretly wish Amy will fool me, even though I know, I hope she fools me and for a split second, I hope to forget the ending and that moment will be awesome!

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    1. Who knows maybe they will bring in some interesting changes for us who read the book that surprise us!

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  4. I don't know, the author writing the script is something to look forward to for you? I read the book and thought it was terribly written. The book read like the author knew it was going to be adapted to a film. So hey, maybe that'll work here. It was a bore and a pain to have to read through.

    The combination of that and the god awful characters made me not want to be remotely excited about Gone Girl. However, David Fincher, Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross and Ben Affleck have got me a little bit more interested, I think is the word. I actually hope it's pretty far removed from what the book was.

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    1. Well, isn't that a lot of complaining. If it was such a pain, you should have probably chose something else to read?

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  5. Haven't read the book so I have to skip past the spoiler section. My hairstylist was also telling me how good the book was so now I'm even more curious to check out the film!

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    1. I think you'll like it, it's a very good thriller story. I think the performances alone will make it worth seeing.

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  6. Correction... it's Reznor... not Raznor... Why do have I to be the one that tries to get it right? Especially when it comes to my beloved Nine Inch Nails?

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    1. Well, beloved clearly, since one is dropping in just to correct a person on a typo.

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  7. Great post Sati! I only just finished reading Gone Girl a few weeks back (in preparation) and am happy to report I'm super excited for this film! The cast looks amazing, especially Pike and NPH. I didn't know Ratajkowski was in it until after I'd finished the book, but her casting is spot on also -"alien fuck-doll" indeed. Can't wait to see how the movie pans out :)

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    1. Thank you! So glad you liked the book, I'm excited to see how they will manage to show that story in the form of a film

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  8. I am sorry if you get two comments from me...I think my computer ate my original comment.
    I loved the book Gone Girl until the end. I hated that ending. But I can see why Amy would be a part all of Hollywood would want because she is such a dark and twisted character. I was underwhelmed with Affleck's casting at first because I thought, Hollywood stop hiring the same 5 people. Was Bradley Cooper too busy? However, I think he will be perfect as the guy who has a face you want to punch because I often feel that way about him onscreen (I am sure off he's a nice guy)...I think he will do well as Nick. The author did write the script and supposedly changed the ending, which might be a good idea because I did not like the book ending and it would be nice to be surprised as to how it ends. I think a film like this is perfect for David Fincher and I hope to be able to see it in the theaters!

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    1. No problem, blogger is acting funny sometimes :)

      Oh man I'm glad Cooper didn't get the role, Affleck is such a better choice. I think there is something more disturbing about him.

      I read the recent interview with the author and apparently the ending is a lot like in the book if not the same, the third act is a bit different but the end results are rumored to be exactly like in the book

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  9. Besides 'Interstellar,' 'Gone Girl' was probably the best trailer I've seen all year. Hands down. I know trailers can be misleading, but I'm hopeful for this film b/c of Fincher. If Fincher's previous work is any indication (Zodiac, Seven, Social Network, Girl with dragon tattoo), then Fincher is really in his element with this film. I can't say the same for Ridley Scott. I know Scott has directed lots of non-scifi films, but many of Scott's film are action oriented (Black Hawk Down, GI Jane, Kingdom of Heaven, etc). So IMO, 'The Counselor' really wasn't a film that fit Scott as a director. I think that was part of the problem. It takes a certain type of director to translate Cormac books to screen. Scott is not it. However, he does action and scifi quite well.

    As for Gone Girl, the casting is flawless. I rarely say that for a film. Affleck and Pike are just perfectly suited to play these roles.

    SPOILERS***

    I like your description of Amy. She was an extremely complicated character. Probably one of the best written characters I've read. Nick was definitely a jerk, but I personally thought that Amy was somewhat of a sociopath...in her own way.

    I don't agree about the pregnant women thing. I think if someone feels superior to others they feel that way regardless of their pregnancy. I know I didn't feel superior. I felt miserable. Glad the baby was finally out ;)

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    1. Scott is seriously choosing bad projects lately - Counselor, Robin Hood, this new Moses movie...it really doesn't suit him, I completely agree.

      Oh Amy was definitely a sociopath! Probably one of the most dangerous I read about because of her patience.

      But Amy talked about specifically woman that are pregnant, not their personality just the pregnancy thing. That they feel superior their husbands impregnated them and pity the childless couples. I dealt with those miserable, self entitled women who look down on those who don't have children several times.

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    2. I've definitely had that happen to me before, although I like to hope that most people don't think that way. My husband and I had been married for 11+ years and hadn't planned on having children before we had our surprise!

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    3. 11+ years?! Wow, congratulations, that's wonderful! I didn't even date anyone for 11 months :)

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  10. Great write-up! I carefully skipped over the spoilers, but I'm really looking forward to this one. Despite some horrible films in the past, I've always thought Affleck is a good actor, especially in films like Good Will Hunting, Hollywoodland, State of Play and The Town. I'd love to see him get an Oscar nomination for this!

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    1. I think he may be getting nominated, he has an excellent character to play and he is very well cast in the role

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