This review is part of those that I do for my most anticipated movies of 2014.
There might be spoilers.
by Jaime Grijalba and Gabriela Valencia.
Through the use of the language of some bad and unknown TV show, about crimes and police investigations, Fincher doesn’t seem to bring anything new to what is commonly represented in the pseudo feminist cinema about the millions of bad and evil men that have repeatedly attacked the feminine fragility, immaculate fragility represented this time by the blonde wife of an unfaithful, disinterested and mediocre man, capable of killing her. The trailer of ‘Gone Girl’ seems to say all. Call my lawyer because I’ve been conned.
During the two and a half hours of movie, Fincher manages to constitute through the use of the before mentioned police TV show language, a narrative universe in which according to the use of common symbols for this genre, seems to deliver every clue for us to overcome the ending of the film. In effect, the mysterious disappearance of a woman in violent circumstances, which leads up to an accumulation of clues that point out to violence, infidelity and indifference from the husband’s part, which at the same time orients us to an unavoidable ending. Nevertheless, the director has a second lecture for us, even more sinister, which is capable of destroying a genre through a narrative twist that changes everything.
This lecture has been too many times linked with a certain misogyny of the director towards the female character that appears as the victim, specially when she ends up not being one, but the one behind the charade and responsible of the social decay of her husband, some sort of retaliation due to his infidelity. She even uses her own genre, the sympathy and the cliches that surround the imagery of what a perfect female companion should be and uses it to prepare the doomed destiny of what was at one time the one that she wanted by her side all her life.
In that sense, there isn’t only a conscious level in the sense of filming the whole thing in the same way that a crappy crime TV show would (specially those regarding the sexy killings, and while I’m not comparing the actual craft of this movie to this, there are certain frames and other images and specially the cadence of the female narration, seem to be callbacks to that kind of television), but also in the way that our female semi-protagonist (all but a memory for most of the length of it) sees herself and creates the narrative based on that kind of language, based on the way that hate crimes occur, specially those in which the presence of the feminine is the most prominent as the cause behind it.
It’s really rewarding to finally see a film that manages to numb you in such a way that it’s middle surprise feels actually like one, one that might’ve been predicted by some, but can’t actually be believed once it goes into the stretches that it goes, with such cruelty, violence and snark, which makes Rosamund Pike one of the best acting performances of 2014 mainly because of the bleak way in which she delivers her speech, the manner in which she reacts to certain events and mainly due to the monotone and otherwise affected speech patterns that she uses in every situation, she seems to be the parody of a parody of a parody, but it’s never truly funny, because she uses it in a world where that same parodied subject has sneaked through and became the accepted element of society.
The main flaws of this film come from the reaction that it has had on the people that see it. It’s become some sort of joke to align this movie to some sort of fear of commitment, as if the film managed to mine someone’s chances of ever becoming sentimentally close to someone, as if the prospect of marriage was always prone to end in a situation like the one presented in this movie, and we must say that as a couple we had fun in this movie, we were never offended, and while we think and hope that we will be always together (in some sort of situation or another), we didn’t feel that it was doomed to fail for some reason or another. We just think that the movie presents something completely different: there are bad, evil people in the world, and sometimes it’s not who you think they are.
Now, that seems to be a weak supporting theme for a film like this, and it’s true, it’s an adaptation of a best seller novel that goes around trying to solve crimes and have some sort of revelation towards the end of the book itself. The movie is pastiche, it’s just a work of fiction based on a novel written by a woman who thinks that maybe there aren’t enough bad women in the world or in fiction, that we are just so immersed in a world of political correctness that even Ben Affleck’s character towards the end of the movie can’t bring himself to tell the truth, because no one will ever believe that a women would be capable of doing things like that. And she can. In the real world. And saying that doesn’t make us woman haters or that we are misogynous. It’s just a fact of life.
This movie could also be seen as an apology towards the judicial and its relation with mass media, so in the beginning the presumption of innocence as a superior judicial valor, is situated in an accessible way as part of the plot, to provoke a catharsis in the audience. That same principle is profoundly affected by the dynamic of the mass media in consideration of the public shaming issues.
On the other side, it is interesting to question the degree of relevance that the judicial has in the personal relations, it is that how Fincher realizes am evident representation of the limit that law has over the personal relations and the govern of their feelings. A movie for lawyers, but not for feminists.