gone girl : the anti-marriage agenda
gone girl is my kind of story. it peeled piece after piece, layer after layer the masks surrounding a seemingly perfect marriage of a seemingly perfect couple until there is nothing left but a black hole of sadness.
in fact, this latest piece from director david fincher should be a required viewing for those who are planning to get married, and for those who equate marriage with nirvana. it's the antithesis to all those fairy tales and their "and they lived happily ever after" endings that plagued our childhood and forever damaged our perception of love, romance and marriage.
in short, it's the perfect propaganda that the government should use to discourage people from getting married, and therefore help curtail population explosion and solve the problems that go along with it: overcrowding, pollution, traffic, congestion. non-sequitur, i know. sorry!
the opening scene was divine: showing the back head of a blond woman as her husband wondered what was inside that lovely head and how he wanted to crack its skull so he would know what she was thinking. what they had done to each other. then the head turned and we saw the face of a lovely woman who was giving the man a beguiling, mysterious smile.
that scene set the chilly, dark mood of the film.
amy (played brilliantly and with relish by british actress rosamund pike) disappeared from the huge and picture-perfect home she shared with husband nick. there were signs of break-in or forced entry, struggle, and even murder, whether imagined or not. she went missing on the couple's fifth year anniversary. how sad is that?!
nick (played by the ham actor ben affleck who can muster only one or two facial expressions) became the prime suspect for her disappearance and later on, murder. (ever wonder why mr. affleck keeps on getting these juicy roles despite his limitations -- an understatement-- as an actor?)
as the movie progressed, we got to know amy and nick even more. both writers, they met at a party when they were living the life in new york city. later on, they moved to missouri when nick's mother became sick so that nick could take care of her. actually, there were other reasons: they both lost their jobs when recession hit the united states of obama, and they could no longer afford to live in the big apple known for its high rent and overall expensive lifestyle.
through her diary, we learned that amy was lonely, miserable and felt neglected by nick. she felt used and abused (it was her money that the couple used to buy their new house in missouri, and she also financed nick's bar business with his sister). even more disturbing was that she also suspected that her philandering husband was planning to kill her.
then there was nick: useless, bored, emasculated. unable to get another high-profile writing job, he became a professor when they moved to missouri. he was having an affair with a former student because he too felt miserable and trapped in his marriage.
the film employed the he said, she said narrative technique. as the story went on, the audience was left changing allegiance and switching sympathies between nick and amy, until the latter part of the film when it became clear who between the two of them was telling the truth.
first we sided with nick, then with amy, then with nick again, then with amy. but in the end, we hated them both. they were both shallow, manipulative, liars, etc. we could even say that they deserved each other and the hell that they have created for themselves.
(oh and there's a running commentary about media and how its biases shape up public opinion. but we all know about it already, right?)
although i have to admit that when the movie was not trying to brood too much, it was fun. some dialogues were brilliantly written and hilarious. some scenes were really, well, funny.
also, the first half of the movie was solid, very well made. it became shaky in the second half, when it shifted its tone, when it showed who amy really was. when the truth about her disappearance was finally revealed. from then on, it became less interesting, to say the least.
suffice it to say that after watching this movie, you will have second thoughts about marrying that gorgeous, smart and well-dressed girl, or that charming, handsome, romantic boy who captured your heart instantly after an exchange of witty banter. it actually reminds me of other films about warring couples: mr. and mrs. smith, the war of the roses, kramer vs. kramer, who's afraid of virginal woolf, to name a few favourites.
honestly, i never really liked any of david fincher's thought-provoking films: zodiac, the social network, fight club, seven, even the well-received the curious case of benjamin button. they're mostly dark, long, very serious and boring. i don't really mind dark. in fact i love it when stories turn dark and when they explore a man's capacity to become evil when pushed to the brink, or simply because he is evil.
but mr. fincher's version of dark is rather uncomfortable like in fight club (a psychological roller coaster) and seven (a mind-boggling shocker. remember the severed head at the end?). it's like eating dark chocolates with the tinfoil wrapper.
here, mr. fincher gave us a very dark view of marriage. it was as if he and writer gillian flynn (who adapted it from her book with the same title) have an anti-marriage agenda that they were pushing forward, funded by the powerful church. chos!
if there is one good thing about the movie, it's rosamund pike.
ms. pike was fascinating as jane bennet in pride and prejudice, even eclipsing the overrated actress (another british, by the way) keira knightley, who played elizabeth bennet, the main character in the story. she was equally fearsome and lovable as the cold-hearted miranda frost (love the name. very apt to her character) in die another day with pierce brosnan, back in the day when pierce was the beloved british spy james bond, or agent zero, zero seven.
but in gone girl, ms. pike was simply brilliant. make no mistake about it. she owned the role and the movie. it was like the writer and the director conceived the movie with her in their minds.
hopefully, ms. pike's "tour-de-force performance", to borrow a cliche, won't go unnoticed by the critics and will land her in the honor roll list come oscar and bafta time.
the rest of the cast were equally great like kim dickens who played the the cop investigating amy's disappearance, carrie coon as nick's twin sister, and comedian tyler perry as the lawyer defending nick. if only we could say the same thing about the film.
(ps: i don't own the pictures posted here. they were taken from different web sites. no copyright infringements intended. please inform the blogger if you want these photos taken out. thank you.)