Monday, October 6, 2014

Jimbo Goes to the Movies: "Gone Girl" (2014) Review

Spoiler: you will never want a character to die as much ever again as you will in this one...

The "moral" of "Gone Girl," I suppose, is the same as in "Fatal Attraction" -- guys, don't cheat on your wives, or else a  whole lot plasma might end up getting spilled.

Whereas Glenn Close wound up boiling a rabbit alive before getting popped by Michael Douglas' wife,  however, "Gone Girl" flips the script on us; instead of wanting the spouse to blow away the mistress, holy hell, will you want Ben Affleck's wife to die a thousand deaths, each gorier and more painful than the last.

Based on Gillian Flynn's novel, the David Fincher-helmed "Gone Girl" is a damned fine potboiler of a movie, with excellent acting all the way around. It's the anti-date movie, the kind of flick genetically engineered to make you question the sanity of your other of significance. If you and your gal pal don't have an unsettling discussion on the car ride home -- "honey, you wouldn't fake being raped to get back at me, would you?" -- you probably watched "The Boxtrolls" on accident.

Like "Fight Club," there is a huge plot twist -- only this time around, the mega-huge swerve occurs at the midway point of the picture.

Spoiler-averse folks, you might want to read some stuff about Pop-Tarts or Oreos instead.

The movie centers around Ben Affleck, who plays a miserable Missourian named Nick Dunne who hates his wife so damn much, he has to go to the bar he co-owns with his twin sister and get hammered on whiskey while playing 1980s board games every morning. He ambles home one eveninng, and what the -- the living room is a mess, and his wife of five years is nowhere to be found!

So, he calls the local police, and a female officer (who spends literally the entire movie sipping on a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee) and her gangling inbred-looking dork subordinates show up and start sticking Post-It Notes all over the house. From there, we get a quick overview of Ben and his wife's relationship. Amy (played by Rosamund Pike) is a "cool girl" raised by two pencil-necked New York psychologist dorks, who was the star of a series of "Amazing Amy" kids books. Both writers, they meet at a NYC social mixer, and before long, he's kissing her in sugar storms and going down on her, and sure enough, he pops the question.

Then the recession hits and they both lose their jobs. Depressed, he buys an Xbox360 and her parents start hemorrhaging money and they have to borrow against her trust fund. And then, Ben's mama comes down with cancer, so they decide to pack up their belongings and hightail it to the Midwest.

It's clear that their marriage is on the brink of ruin. Per Amy's recollections, Nick is an abusive layabout, and she's so worried about him, she ends up trying to buy a handgun from a bunch of meth addicts who live in an abandoned shopping mall to protect herself.

While the police build their case, the national media picks up on the story, and the Nick and Amy saga becomes the latest Nancy Grace shit storm du jour. In something of an offhanded homage to Fincher's own "The Game" and "Seven," Amy apparently left a bunch of scavenger hunt birthday notes around town, and each one seems to incriminate Nick even more. Ultimately, it's revealed that Nick had an affair with some community college student, and Amy herself may or may not have been preggers at the time of her disappearance. And hey, what are all of those mysterious credit card charges for 56 inch flat screen plasma TV screens and $1,000 robot dogs doing on her account?

With the cable news talking heads ready to lynch him, he hires a defense attorney -- played by, of all people, Madea -- to coach him so he sounds kinda' innocent on talk shows. Don't ask for specifics, but this leads to Ben Affleck getting pegged in the face by Gummi Bears for two whole minutes.

Then, investigators break out the Luminol, splash it around the kitchen, and my goodness, it looks like a Jason movie happened right next to the toaster oven. Then, the cops find a suspiciously still legible burned up diary, and now, old Nicky boy finds himself charged with mur-diddly-urder.

But there's a catch. You see, Amy wasn't killed by Nick -- she actually faked her own death to get revenge on her hubby for cheating on her, and she has one hell of a getaway strategy. Dying her hair and traveling cross-country in a car she paid cash for on Craigslist, it's revealed that her ultimate plan is to commit suicide in a manner that heavily implies foul play, which would most likely result in Nick getting the lethal injection.

Things are going as planned, until some super-trashy white folks decide to rob Amy of her escape funds. Having to come up with a backup plan on the fly, she calls her old boyfriend -- this super rich dorkus maximus who was so crazy about her, he tried to commit suicide on her bed when they break up -- who lets her hideout in his high-tech mansion, with a million trillion security cameras. See,s he has her old beau (played by Doogie Howser, who really can't cut the mustard as an alleged heterosexual) convinced Nick is going to kill her, but while he's being all protective and stuff, she's binding her arms and shoving wine bottles up her hoo-ha to make it look like he's been raping her. This is a trick she tried on a former flame, who Nick meets up with after he's bonded out.

With Headline News suggesting Nick and his sister are boning, Amy tricks Doogie into splooging hard inside her, which culminates with a little jugular severance. Hopping in her ex's car, she drives all the way back to Missouri while looking like Carrie on prom night -- I'm guessing none of the station attendant really gave a shit when she had to gas up on the way over?

And, in a made-for-television moment, Amy shows up at Nick's place and embraces him, right in front of the cameras. The two become a bona-fide celebre couple, and it looks like Amy is pregnant for real this time. The film concludes with Ben facing a demise infinitely worse than the gas chamber -- he's gotta' spend the rest of his existence sharing the same bed with quite possibly the most batshit insane villainess in recent celluloid history.

"Gone Girl" isn't a great movie, per se, but for a mainstream Hollywood offering in the year of our lord 2014, it's certainly way more entertaining than 90 percent of the stuff shat out at the box office as of late.

There should be no worries about Ben's ability to play a convincing Batman, because he plays a tortured soul with a double life solidly here. Conversely, Rosamund Pike probably deserves an Oscar nod for playing an antagonist twenty times more terrifying than The Joker. The rest of the cast is a mixed bag, but it's not really a deal breaker.

In terms of subtext, this is a really interesting film. Intentionally or not, this might just be the first true anti-misandrist masterpiece of the 2010s, as the flick takes a pretty counter-cultural stance against false rape accusations and the general societal conviction that women are presumably innocent in all cases. Instead of promoting the typical feminist victimization credo, this movie will have even the staunchest men-haters in the audience screaming "kill the bitch!" when Amy gets stuck up by trailer park denizens.

The classist element of the film is also worth noting. The New York / Missouri dichotomy is spelled out pretty well, and in some ways, you could consider the film sort of a moral celebration of the lower classes. The American judicial system, the mainstream media and especially the upper crust (as embodied by Doogie Howser and Amy's folks) are all oblivious to her crimes, but the rat-tailed doublewide dwellers see right through her, and give Amy her only real come-uppance throughout the picture. This is reinforced by the film's overabundance of product-placement, with so many direct allusions to poor white trash brands like Mountain Dew, CVS and Budweiser. For fuck's sake, Big Lots factors prominently as a plot device, which has to be a first in the annals of cinema.

This is about as good as popcorn movies get nowadays. It's trashy enough to remain interesting throughout, but it's got enough smarts to make it something respectable as a legitimate film.

And you too will be cheering for the robot dog to attack Amy at the end. If that's included as a bonus feature on the Blu-Ray, I reckon I'll wind up buying twenty of 'em.


Three Tofu Dogs out of Four

Jimbo says check it out ... with somebody you love.


  1. The "moral" of "Gone Girl," I suppose, is the same as in "Fatal ...

  2. Batman going down on a bond villain.. nice. I seen it with my mom.


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