Read This: Director Richard Kelly Breaks Down Fincher's 'Gone Girl'
"It all started with an Aerosmith video." As we head further into the awards season this year, we start to see the more challenging and thought-provoking films emerge. David Fincher's latest film Gone Girl, which just hit theaters this past weekend, is evoking some of the best writing about filmmaking, and about society, in a long time. It's starting a discussion that we've been afraid to have and yet the commentary so far has been invigorating. The latest must read discussion comes from fellow filmmaker Richard Kelly (of Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, The Box) who wrote a massive essay for Talkhouse Film analyizing Gone Girl and comparing it to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final film which is beloved by critics as well.
Kelly's essay, subtitled "A Study of Psychopathy in the Heteronormative Patriarchal Occult" found in full on Tumblr, is a fascinating and apt analysis of Fincher's Gone Girl that begins by connecting Kelly's own interest in filmmaking to watching Fincher's career begin with music videos. How far we've come. He then goes on to parallel Gone Girl with Eyes Wide Shut, before cycling back to praise the Fincher adaptation and all that it openly examines. "With Amy Dunne [author Gillian Flynn] has created a complex, brilliant female character that just so happens to be a dangerous psychopath." Here's a brief excerpt from the beginning:
There are very few true wizards of cinema and Fincher clearly belongs on that list along with Stanley Kubrick. The release of Gone Girl feels like a welcome relief. An event long overdue—worthy of an epic three-part spoiler-filled 4741 word essay for Talkhouse Film—(God bless you if you’re still reading this).
Fincher’s 10th feature film is riveting, exquisitely crafted and spectacularly entertaining. It walks a tightrope above the trappings of various genres, rising above them all to become the most unique of cinematic experiences. It is the movie we have been waiting for—and the movie we sorely deserve.
Having read Gillian Flynn’s novel before seeing the film it became clear to me that the filmed version of Gone Girl would become—in Fincher’s deft hands—some kind of kindred spirit to the misunderstood Kubrick sexual odyssey released fifteen years ago. The blindfold is now off and the ugliness is there in plain sight.
Both Gone Girl and Eyes Wide Shut are deeply twisted, satirical and borderline maniacal erotic thrillers that seem to be made my a snickering auteur—well aware that the institution of marriage itself is being bathed in a hot dose of Tyler Durden’s corrosive lye soap from Fight Club.
Both films show broken marriages that can only be repaired by ritualistic, meticulously calculated blood sacrifices.
Both films deconstruct the patriarchal, heteronormative surface world with the introduction of a dangerous psychopath intent on preserving it.
Psychopaths—and the lesser sociopaths that fit within this diagnostic criteria—are everywhere in this world. If you don’t believe in silly things like Satan and the Occult—read up on the behavioral science of psychopathology and you will be presented with a very troubling biological manifestation of evil.
If Satan doesn’t exist—well, it really doesn’t matter because the earth has essentially been filled with his foot soldiers for thousands of years and they are more prevalent than ever. Especially in Los Angeles. These people lack empathy—as familiar media personality Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle) reminds us—in a pointed scene from Gone Girl.
They want a piece of the action, at any cost. They desperately want to be part of the 1% and they will lie, cheat, manipulate and steal their way into that exclusive mansion to which so few people have the password to gain admittance.
Pssst… the password is: Fidelio Rainbow. Come inside if you dare to explore two of the most thought provoking films about marriage ever made.
Read the entire essay on Richard Kelly's Tumblr here, which is broken into three parts and runs a full 4741 words. But it's worth it to get into the bold comparisons and beautiful writing, which analyzes Fincher and Kubrick (and Kelly himself) in a compelling way. There's nothing better than reading something that makes you think differently and challenges our own feelings. I love the other comparison he makes at the end: "the film has become the most wicked of Paul Verhoeven-esque satires. Basic Instinct is a film that comes to mind. That film was also a relentlessly trashy, borderline satirical thrill ride with an exceptionally well-structured script by Joe Esterhaz and a lush Jerry Goldsmith score." Sound Off on Gone Girl yourself.
I'm glad that a film like Gone Girl is starting up interesting discussions, and I hope it continues to fuel the dialogue as it continues to play. David Fincher's Gone Girl is in theaters now. Alex's review/Jeremy's review.
Reader Feedback - 7 Comments
I like where he goes with this essay....now, if only the title weren't so pretentious....
TheOct8pus on Oct 7, 2014
Gone Girl: An overrated soap opera.
Carlos Ortiz on Oct 7, 2014
Well, the book sure was and I couldn't read it; I tried twice 6 months apart and it just seemed so trite, shallow and silly I threw it across the room...for the second time....lol...However, I am interested in why Fincher decided to make a film from this junk. I like his work so will be forced to go see it to find out for myself what he's done with it. We'll see.
Bo on Oct 7, 2014
A part of me feels sad every time I see Richard Kelly's name, Donnie Darko seemed like the beginning of such a promising career. Oh well :/
Ricardo_PT on Oct 7, 2014
Thanks for posting all this, Alex. I don't know; comparing Fincher to Kubrick. That's a pretty far reach. However, after reading what Kelly had to say in what you included I get his point. Very interesting. Very intelligent. Thanks again, as I might never have come across this essay if not for you. Well done. Now, to set aside some time and read the whole thing. We'll see.
Bo on Oct 7, 2014
Seems on point. We'll see soon enough.
DAVIDPD on Oct 7, 2014
comparing Fincher to kubrick is not a bad one but fincher didn't make a classic movie yet like the space Odyssey. All his movies are superb but still not at the kubrick level I think... And the girl with the Dragon tattoe is not that great...
Avi on Oct 8, 2014
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