Gone Girl (Fincher/14)
AS the release date nearer, my anticipation for this film increased; it certainly seemed much more promising than Fincher's previous effort (The Girl with Dragon Tattoo). While the second at twist was spoiled for me ahead of time, the film in fact pre-empts it and really kicks into high gear after it at any rate. Some of the film is very, very good - the whole opening procedural part, with Ben Affleck as the suspected killer of his wife and Kim Dickens as the intelligent cop. Fincher can shoot this kind of thing to perfection; sure, it's at the end of the day, high-end television, but nevertheless thrilling. Performances are note-perfect, and particularly praise must go to Carrie Coon as Affleck's sister. The mid-act twist however, suddenly introduces a whole new layer to the film, the movie then progressing in parallel plotlines. Arguably it's all improbable how it proceeds from then on, but I think it's quite apt to describe it as "absurdist", Fincher using the verisimilitude to make a very intriguing and caustic investigation of relationships, post-crash of '08 in modern America, that is undoubtedly pessimistic and intentionally exaggerated but seems to ring true nonetheless. Plus, there's a murder scene that is one of the best things he's ever done: it brings abject horror back into the murder scene, which has been prettified and trivialised over the decades. It's stunning technique, the camera reacting like a shocked voyeur, arcing round the scene, blacking out as though it's blinking in disbelief, a reading that fits in well with the film's commentary on the media (even if that satire isn't particularly groundbreaking). Fincher has found a screenplay (by Gillian Flynn, who wrote the same-self novel) that gives depth to this direction and not just an empty exercise in style. Certain aspects of the movie are none too original, but it's always, always engrossing and both technique (cinematography, music) and acting is excellent, and Rosamund Pike has the most fascinating female role in the movies this year (which actually says a lot about Hollywood, sadly).