The ‘Gone Girl’ Review
Wow. Well, I enjoyed that. A lot of mixed reviews on this coming from people but if I’m honest I felt this wasn’t your typical Fincher film in a lot of ways. Adapting a book for screen is never easy because when you start there is always the uphill struggle of people’s preconceived notions of ‘how things are’. They’ve read the book and in their minds they’ve already constructed the ideas to how the story should play out. This film isn’t the type of film I’d recommend to the ‘average moviegoer’ who’s looking for Michael Bayisms. You’ll be bored. But if you’re someone that appreciates what David Fincher does, and you like a storyline that doesn’t play out as you expect, then this is the one for you.
The intro got me hooked instantly through Jeff Cronenweth’s delightful style. The dark charactistics of a ‘flyover town’ are brought to our attention with a mix of slow and fast pans, not to mention the usual ‘hold your eyes on this’ moments where the camera doesn’t move. The title shot (shown above) had this darkness to it I couldn’t quite place. We see a large boat moving down a dirty river at dusk surrounded by a whole bunch of ‘nothing worthwhile here’.
The story goes through some extremely odd twists and turns and you’re put in a position of never truly knowing how you feel for Afflecks character apart from on a couple of occasions where you catch yourself going ‘ok he is an asshole’. I love a good twist and this film is full of them, so my advice is don’t jump to any conclusions because you’re probably wrong. Just let the story take you where Fincher decides. There is a very prominant dig at the media in this film as well which I loved. It’s like the mask is off and we’re shown how easily the world is led to believe things when the truth might not be that closely related. I’m not giving anything away don’t worry, but the film really is one where the dialog is essential. The cinematography sits well with it but as always with ‘first watches’ of films I never pay much attention apart from the intro and shots where I’m given the chance to not be tied into listening to a conversation. As I said, the intro for me was wholly amazing. It’s simplicity suited the vibe well and that was a moment I was able to appreciate the craft more.
I will probably go back for a second watch on this so I can take in the cinematography, but all in all I really enjoyed this film. I wouldn’t tick it as my favourite Fincher film but I would drop it in the box marked ‘something I will return too often’. Another thing I loved was the use of straight black cuts after a specific time period or ‘act end’. It gave you the chance to stop for a brief moment, take in what had happened and then move on when we were brought back into the story. It was very much like a play. These ‘to black’ cuts happened often. I felt like it gave my brain time to breathe; for the information to ‘buffer’ in my memory banks. Scarily Fincher probably knew this when he placed these into the film and at the end it was like I had been sat in a jury and fed information on a case. Even more alarming for me was the way I felt at the end of the film…. I can’t discuss it but it was slightly twisted. I felt like I would have done what Afleck did. You’ll have to check out the film to understand. For the record, I have an extreme crush on Rosamund Pike’s character.
For me in my work, especially my documentary stuff, I like to shoot very static. There are shots in this which inspired me in that avenue. I like to shoot things where you can go back a second or a third time and see something new. I’m sure a lot of people consider me to be a bit of a snob with directing and the way I talk about it, but I honestly think that thinking carefully about what you do and asserting meaning to it IS the job. Taking a camera out and doing a half assed job of something after years of practise doesn’t get you your directors badge. Films like this inspire me more so when it comes to this line of thought.
I rate this film 4 chainsaws out of 5.
Get your ass to a cinema and see it!
Checking locations yesterday. I found a place I’d like my production office to be in the future when I’ve ‘calmed down’ a little haha. What lies behind me there is one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the UK. Oddly enough I get a great sense of peace from it and myself and Ant Barrett (my friend and cinematographer who took this picture) found ourselves sat down taking it all in for about an hour. It was the first time in a long time I felt completely at peace. The only thing that was missing was ‘Pink Floyd - Us And Them’ playing in the air (go listen to the start of that song to get an idea of how chilled it is).
It’s no news to everyone I’ve been posting a lot less on this blog, but a big part of this reason is I’ve had a lot to attend to in my life. I haven’t felt particularly positive as I’ve gone through some personal stuff which doesn’t really (at the moment) belong on any of my pages. I do however have an article to post in the future where I’m going to talk about some of the hurdles I’ve dealt with lately and how it’s best to approach them in terms of being a director/filmmaker.
There’s been a lot of work going on through which as always is my saviour. Furthermore I’ve got back in the water surfing which I’ve really missed. I have a detailed post on ‘filming in a recording studio’ coming where I’ll talk about how I approached my recent stint with The Devil Wears Prada as they recorded ‘something awesome’ over the space of a week. Until then, be well and remember to value who you are and what you’re worth. Do not give way to fools, just keep being creative.
The front cover of my next release which heads out all over the world very soon. If you pre-ordered it then you’re in for a surprise in the post at some point in the near future!
Spot the Mackfall (clue, I’m working). Thanks to Cardinals Media.
Directing an advert in Shoreditch the other week (looking and feeling tired as hell) with Alex Cribbs one of my camera guys Alex Cribbs. Photo by Josh Mansfield.
My facebook page is still in it’s early days but please head over and follow it. On it I showcase projects I’ve been working on, interesting film news/innovations and discussions on my inspirations. It’s a great place to have a bit more of a discussion as quite often the replies you guys leave me on posts I’m unable to directly respond to. Click the picture to head over to it now!
Thank you (no more social networking posts today I promise)!
Rolling Stone cover forthcoming Mastodon release
Click the above image for a link to the page where they have a short article on my latest release which drops on December 10th. They are also showing a clip of Dry Bone Valley, taken from the set. Further videos from the performance will be released on December 5th and 9th, so get ready for a look at other parts of the set not previously seen before.
"Never give up. No matter what anyone says. Even if you are nearly flat broke. Even if you have to sleep sitting upright for 9 weeks in a van. Even if people don’t understand your vision. Your vision is your vision, and you’ll never die sad or regretful of the fact your pursued a career you wanted badly enough. I’ve shared a lot of thoughts today, but this is primarily because I feel that even though I have an obligation to continue working towards where I want to be; I also have a duty to inspire others.
Don’t stop. Believe in yourself. And that’s all a big ‘self quote’ right there.”
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Seahaven / Balance & Composure / Pianos Become The Teeth / Ryan Mackfall - Glasgow, Scotland
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