David Fincher’s thriller returns to television on Sunday evening.
While the French Cinematheque opened reservations this week for its retrospective David Fincherorganized on the sidelines of the broadcast of his new film The Killer on Netflix (from November 10), France 2 is rebroadcasting its latest production to be released in cinemas: Gone Girl. We are republishing our long review of the film carried by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.
Why Rosamund Pike did little filming after Gone Girl
News first published on October 8, 2014: After a short hot reviewwe publish a more detailed notice of Gone Girl . We were going to see the last Fincher dated with as much interest as circumspection. Paradoxical and unpredictable, the filmmaker is one of the rare Hollywood insiders smart enough to play by the rules of the system while maintaining total artistic freedom. From his career, which is by no means straight, one could discern a vague propensity to chronicle society in the present, but over time, he turns out to have dealt with the concerns of several eras: the brutal disillusionment of Generation Seventhe nihilism of Generation Y (Fight Club), the hopeless dismay of baby boomers (Zodiac). If there is always a Fincher enigma, it is that he is never where we expect him to be, even in his most innocuous films like Millenniumwhich looks like a commissioned work, however well done it may be.
David Fincher cast Ben Affleck using Google Images
And this is precisely what we could fear from Gone Girl : another command in a register that could be assimilated to one’s comfort zone. Fortunately this is not the case, and to put an end to the lengthy preamble, Gone Girl is perhaps Fincher’s best film since Fight Club. In any case, the filmmaker sets the record straight, finds his feet and does what he does best: a thriller of incisive modernity, of dizzying darkness, and which attacks institutions ( in this case marriage) with a definitely dirty aggression. Incidentally, it is also perhaps the most scathing satire of American society of this first quarter of a century.
Before continuing, it is necessary to specify, like all the columnists who have already covered it, that Gone Girl is impossible to comment on without revealing “spoilers”.
David Fincher: “There is a twist in Gone Girl, but quite frankly that’s not what interested me”
Torrent of misogyny
At its core, it’s a domestic drama that examines ***spoiler*** how a marriage can go haywire. Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, an unemployed journalist who is married five years earlier to Amy, a brilliant New York high society girl (Rosamund Pike). On the eve of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick finds the house empty. He calls the police and as the days go by, the mystery thickens, while Nick is suspected of murder, without proof since there is no body yet. The revelations come one after the other, at first at a slow-burning pace, then they fall with increasingly shocking intensity. They reveal an adulterated universe, where appearance is crucial, as the lawyer indicates (excellent Tyler Perry) hired by Nick to advise him: “the important thing is what people think of you”. For Amy, who we also get to know, mastery of appearance has been second nature since childhood.
Gone Girl, a violently misogynistic film?
She rose to fame when her parents cast her as the heroine of a series of books. As surely as DNA, her experience will determine the future path of this girl destined to disappear. Her relationship with outsiders, her image, and the way in which she can be shaped by the media inform not only her own identity, but also that of the other female characters in the film. And with two exceptions – Nick’s twin sister (Carrie Coon) and the detective played by Kim Dickens (Deadwood, Friday Night Lights, Treme), Gone Girl paints a frightening picture of the American woman, programmed to become a slut in order to survive. Interestingly, the author of this torrent of fundamental misogyny is a woman, who adapted her own novel.
The best of film noir
Fincher has accustomed us since Fight Club to not necessarily believe the first person speech of the main character. That’s why we’re not too surprised to learn along the way that Nick isn’t the innocent he’s trying to make himself out to be. At the same time, his spinelessness and mediocrity leave many doubts about his ability to have even considered killing his wife. The story is told by alternating between his point of view, which is more in the present, and that of Amy, which is more in the past. Fincher comes out with virtuosity and naturalness, avoiding the mechanical nature of the novel which systematically alternated one chapter with her, one with him.
Ben Affleck: “Fincher was afraid I would torpedo my career with Gone Girl”
Another quality of the film is to make the characters all the more fascinating as they are forced to use their intelligence. On this ground, Amy proves her intellectual superiority by subjecting her husband to a series of riddles on the occasion of each anniversary of their marriage. It was during the last one that she slipped clues which also fell into the hands of the police.
***spoilers*** The result is linked to the tradition of the best film noirs, and allows Rosamund Pike to join the pantheon of the great cinema stars. We can have fun looking for references everywhere, from Hitchcock to all the great classics involving femme fatales. One image clearly refers to the death of Shelley Winters In the hunter’s night. ***spoiler*** But this is a false lead, knowing that Winters was a victim. In Gone Girl, there are many more perpetrators than victims.
Rosamund Pike: ‘My character in Gone Girl is so much more complex than you can imagine at this point’
In the end, the last words are left to the women: first, to the resigned detective, who knows the truth but is forced to close the file: “There’s nothing more we can do.” Then to Amy, to whom Nick reminds that they cannot live together: “We tear each other up, we argue with each other, we destroy each other”. His response (“We call it marriage!”) is made with irony so solid that it could be used to build a staircase to hell.
David Fincher self-references in the trailer for The Killer: nods to Fight Club, Gone Girl, Mindhunter…