Sunday, February 8, 2015

Gone Girl: Insult to Cinema

So now I'm relegated to writing about films that arise deep dissatisfaction. Last year, 2014, continues to be the year of cinema that underwhelms and annoys. And in the case of Gone Girl, I would say we have found the biggest example of cinematic tripe disguised as critically praised masterpiece. From all corners (88% Rottentomatoes, 79% Metacritic), this film has gotten heaps of praise. In this day and age, that's not necessarily saying anything though. Today's critical establishment is made up of numerous self made critics, the likes of which can gain access to these sites through blogs or online "zines" without any actual significant time building up a reputation over the years. Heck even I could be one of them if I really wanted to. The years of Siskel and Ebert are so far behind us, it's almost comical with which we look to sites like RT or Metacritic to tell us that a film is great, due to the network of nobody's that make up the data set. But I guess I'm not surprised that it's a Fincher film that is drawing my ire. I find his cinema to be stilted, manipulative and misogynistic. Gone Girl continues his grand tradition. It is far and away the worst film of 2014 that I've seen, as it positions itself as some kind of intelligent, pulpy noir, but in actuality, is a manipulative, pretentious, misogynistic piece of trash.

One of my main issues with the film is the way that it shifts point of view to serve the needs of suspense and entertainment. The first hour carefully avoids telling us certain information in order to set up the final 90 minutes. We're not even privy to the Ben Affleck character's every move in order to build suspicion of his character, when in actuality, the story never follows through on this point of view, continually shifting to the Rosamund Pike character's voice over in flashbacks. These flashbacks near the beginning are deliberately manipulated to allow us to believe she's the innocent voice from the grave. But it's only the lack of information provided by the director that deliberately avoids telling us her true story until the entertainment requires the switch of tone in the second half. If it's one thing I can't stand, it's a director whose film only becomes entertainment through bait and switch. Literally, the suspense and structure of the entire film revolves around the director leading us on through avoidance of complete information. If you think back to shifting points of view in Rashomon (1950), one realizes it was done to speak to the audience about truth. Shifting points of view in Gone Girl are only utilized to keep us needlessly guessing. I literally cannot understand how the critical masses were foolish enough to allow themselves to be blindly entertained by such manipulative and self-serving cinema. Literally the first hour is pointless set-up to serve the needs of the switcheroo. As was put well by another review, this is a cinema of obfuscation.

This is not to mention the extreme misogynism of the film. Every female character in this film is either a fool, a gossip, an easy woman, or a psycho. The lying and cheating husband is positioned as practically a Saint in this film compared to all the women. The Detective Rhonda Boney character is shown to be slow to act and indeed paralyzed into inaction at the end even when she knows the truth. What about the gossipy women on the newscasts who appear petty and flighty? What about the sister who is so subserviently tied to her brother that she can't come up with anything to do but find ways to support him? What about the Andie Fitzgerald girl who gets naked for one scene, appearing like the uncaring, easy woman with nothing more to add? What about the "trailer trash" girl at the cabin? What about the "best friend" who unwittingly pees her way into a con? Last but not least, what about the Amy character, who is a complete psycho, who has gone so far off the grid that her manipulation and revenge tactics make her par with the devil? All of this makes the Ben Affleck character and the Tyler Perry characters look like the "sane" ones in a sea of crazy, idiotic women. Gone Girl is offensive and unintelligent in the worst way. All those critics that got fooled by it should have their responsibilities for film criticism removed.