Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
David Fincher's "Gone Girl" has arrived at The Tropic, based on Gillian Flynn's page-zipping novel. Fincher (The Social Network) has wonderfully brought out the alien and isolating quality of this contemporary "surprise" story. The director's trademark visual tints of gray-green and brown are well in evidence here, making every person look as if they are either confined in a computer screen, or have morphed into a group of trapped bugs under smoked glass.
In impressionistic snippets, we get small details of Nick and Amy's marital adventures, complete with steam and motion, as Amy caresses and tears at Nick's clothes almost in the style of an Adrian Lynne (Fatal Attraction) film.
But then, Nick gets laid off. The lovebirds argue and events go south.
On the morning of their anniversary , Nick leaves for work at his bar.
After a talk with his sister (Carrie Coon) he receives a call that his door is left open with his indoor cat outside.
He races home to find his McMansion empty.
Amy is gone.
The film is punchily edited to give a knock in the eye and heart with each image alternately running across your field of vision either like cool syrup, or throttling adrenaline.
Ben Affleck is perfect as the monotone polo shirted Everyman, Nick. He mumbles often and it is a nice touch that, as in the novel, he is a man who is both inhibited and haphazard with his emotions: they just don't match. Nick Dunne is clearly Affleck's best work.
This is a visceral haunt story in the best sense as taut and anxious as "The Silence of the Lambs".
Rosamund Pike too, is terrific. She has the ability to seem like a chimerical spirit, not of the flesh even though she is clearly ambulatory.
Neil Patrick Harris delivers well as a milquetoast creep who lives in a Thomas Kincade style house as if remodeled by Stanley Kubrick.
Also well cast is the acting of Tyler Perry, as a vain but obsessively detailed and controlling lawyer.
Under David Fincher, the overriding and well executed tone is one of remoteness, creepy nonchalance and transgression and we are never sure of what is about to transpire, no matter if it details this couple's past, present or future.
The film has one singular scene that almost outdoes Hitchcock in one anoxic and jarring moment that will sneak up on you quicker than the snap of some nouveau riche bedsheets. But no spoiler here.
"Gone Girl" is kaleidoscopic , spacey, askew and masterful in its millennial noir, but better still, it might have you sincerely disturbed about this particular arc of a shared life and the elements contained within.
Write Ian at email@example.com