Gone Girl is a gas, and I mean that in a truly fascinating ass-wind sense. It’s a wonderfully tight, highly disciplined, utterly delightful “who killed the missing wife?” flick by a master craftsman, but don’t kid yourself about it being just on that level. It’s much more than a rote crime melodrama. Gone Girl is basically an entertaining sociology lecture from Professor Fincher. A blistering assessment of American upscale marriages and social values and self-fuckitude like you’ve never quite seen. How do I get outta here? Look at how miserable we manage to make each other…togetherness! And the pigslop tabloid media brigade…God! Women and men are going to have sharply different reactions to Gone Girl, but for openers guys are going to go “wow…whoa” and some feminists are going to howl “is this a comprehensive portrait of 2014 male misogyny or what?” This view is complicated, of course, by the fact that Gillian Flynn, a whip-smart ex-Entertainment Weekly staffer, wrote the book to begin with. On the other hand Fincher brings the shit home. Gone Girl is a deliciously cold, twisted, half-satiric portrait of elite American values — the whole rotten state of disillusioned post-2008 married yuppie barforama. And fuck me. It’s 10:18 pm on a lovely warm night in midtown Manhattan. I’ve just uploaded two pics and two short videos of the post-Gone Girl press conference at Leows Lincoln Square, and now I have about 15 minutes before heading over to the post-gala party at Tavern on the Green. Later.
It obviously dates me to say this but I immediately said to myself “Peter Max” as I stepped on this IRT northbound train this morning.
Taken on the set of From Here to Eternity, sometime in late ’52 or early ’53. All three were either peaking or close to peaking and didn’t know it. Marlon Brando’s last great film of his youth (Terry Malloy in On The Waterfront) would begin shooting later that year and then downhill for nearly 20 years before The Godfather. Fred Zinneman had just directed High Noon and would enjoy a fruitful career into the early ’80s, but he never again crested as highly as this moment. Montgomery Clift was already beginning to sink into alcoholic self-destruction and would never again land as good a role as Robert E. Lee Prewitt.
What’s wrong with sitting on steps? Isn’t that what they’re partly for?
It’s been eight months since I first saw Damien Chazelle‘s Whiplash so I figured I’d give it another go this morning at the New York Film Festival. It’s just as gripping and screwed-down and possessed as ever. It certainly contains Miles Teller‘s best performance so far. I’ve noted previously that J.K. Simmons‘ performance as a psychotic musical instructor, a manic loon in the tradition of R. Lee Ermey‘s Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, is 100% baity. (In my book the Best Supporting Actor race is Simmons vs. Birdman‘s Edward Norton.) Chazelle’s reported decision to make a biopic about Apollo astronaut and first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong is perplexing, but he’s clearly a top-tier talent.
Moderator Amy Taubin, star J.K. Simmons during noontime New York Film Festival press conference following 10 am screening of Whiplash.
Simmons, Whiplash director Damien Chazelle.
David Fincher‘s Gone Girl has been reviewed so extensively and passionately by so many critics over the last few days that tonight’s New York Film Festival “premiere” has been made to seem all but meaningless. Yes, I’m totally cranked about catching the NYFF press screening at 5 pm today (although I wish it could be shown at a better facility than the problematic AMC Lincoln Square) but the decision to let everyone and his brother review it a few days early has undermined this hallowed 52 year-old festival. Everyone is complaining about this. And yet I’m thrilled by Sasha Stone‘s review, which is one of the best pieces of writing she’s delivered in a long while. Because it’s about her as much as the film, and because she offers strong interpretive connections between the film and post-2008 yuppie-hell culture.
“Maybe Gone Girl is about the death of marriage in America,” she writes. “Maybe it’s about the death of that pretty little lie.” [Note: Stone also refers to a “Big Lie” which more or less refers to the same domestic bullshit.] “One thing it’s not about is what almost every film coming out in the next few months is about. It’s not about men.