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October 06, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-06

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6A Monday, October Vi, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Monday, October 6, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

This column is about

Rvan Goslina


'i can't wait till it's '69 days Gone.' How bout you?'
Striking, surprising
'Gone Girl' thrills

Fincher brings
killer Gillian Flynn
adaptation to screen
Daily TV/New Media Editor

and Ratajkowski proves she's
an adept actress even when
she's not teasing Robin Thicke.
Neil Patrick Harris, famous for
playing womanizing Barney
Stinson on "How I Met Your
Mother," is a natural choice for
calculating lover Desi Collings.
The film winks at viewers'

"Gone Girl" may be a twisty expectations when it comes to
and fast-paced thriller, but the Harris, with even his creepiest
film's defining -characteristic is lines eliciting giggles. His
how surprising series of increasingly predatory
it is. A comments are funny until,
At first suddenly, no one's laughing
glance, the Gone Girl anymore. The reversal is jarring
story seems and one of the most startling
familiar. At Quality16 moments of the film (I wouldn't
Down-on-his- and Rave dare spoil anything more
luck husband 20th Century Fox specific).
Nick Dunne
(Ben Affleck,
"Argo") comes
home from a day at work to find Affieck s chin
his darlingwife Amy (Rosamund a lot
Pike, "An Education") missing. gets of
He's not as distraught as he screentime.
should be; evasive and glib, he
flashes his sickening dead-eyed
smile at the most inopportune
of moments. Even Nick's square
jaw and "villainous" chin "Gone Girl" also plays on
recall other wife-killers and its recognizability as a David
smooth criminals (particularly Fincher film. The director's
Scott Peterson, whose name comes with certain
p-arallel Sitog And physica sstBmpti 's, and viewers
resemblance to Nick cannot be walking into the theater expect
coincidental). Affleck's tabloid to see cinematography tinted
celebrity makes for a perfect yellow, naturalistic acting and
castingchoice. It's arole built for a slow and deliberate unfurling
arecognizable face, and aperfect of mystery. Fincher is an auteur
vehicle for Affleck to showcase for the modern era, where half
the finest acting of his career. of the fun of watching his films
Even the most confusing come from the comparison to
casting choices make sense the rest of his body of work.
upon seeing the film. Pike, who's While Fincher's Missouri is
mostly known for playing a Bond doused in maize and Affleck
Girl and the sister of Jane Austen often delivers his lines in a
heroines, is flawless as a girl Jesse Eisenberg-esque mumble,
who's bitter atbeingside-stepped "Gone Girl" is more than another
and underestimated. Tyler Perry Fincher vehicle. A lot of the
("Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get nuance of the story is owed to
Married Too") is astoundingly screenwriter (and the original
subtle in a dramatic role, playing novel's author) Gillian Flynn.
attorney Tanner Bolt with some She adapts her source material
slick dark humor thatnever veers with an eye for the screen, and
into silly Madea territory. Emily isn't afraid to excise elements
Ratajkowski (the brunette from that don't translate as well to
the "Blurred Lines" music video) film. (Namely, a lot of detail with
plays a needy young temptress, Nick's father and elaboration on

their struggles in New York.) The
book's breathless 432 pages are
cut into a lean 149 minutes with
just a few regrettable omissions.
The only one worth lamenting is
the famous "Cool Girl" passage,
which has much less impact
when delivered in voice-over and
placed in a completely different
part of the story.
The plot twists unfold
effortlessly as viewers are.
afforded little omniscience.
You only glimpse Nick and
Amy's relationship from their
unreliable narration, which is
often peppered with misleading
evidence and, sometimes,
blatant lies. Insight into the
investigation comes from
the endearing, sometimes
incompetent detectives Boney
(Kim Dickens, "Deadwood") and
Gilpin (Patrick Fugit, "Almost
Famous"). Their leads are
flawed, formed as much by the
media's perception of Nick and,
Amy as the calculated'versions'
of themselves that the couple
present. Nick might seem like
an eager-to-please mama's boy
gone psychopathic, but even
this blundering open book is
capable of keeping some killer
secrets. The extent. of Amy's
manipulation is rare, clear, and
the flashbacks as seen through
her diary are mediated through
Nick's perceptions ofher (though
they are technically written
downbyAmy).As the caricatures
of the Dunnes denature into.
chaos, it's impossible to discern
who's trustworthy and who's
putting on a show.
"Gone Girl" is the type of
film that can still provide thrills
several rewatches later, and
manages to be equally stunning
for fans of the book and newbies
to Nick and Amy's fucked-up,
power play love. It's not just a
film, but an experience - thanks
in part to masterful acting,
excellent direction and the eerie
score provided by Trent Reznor
and Atticus Ross. "Gone Girl" is
often emotional, darkly comic,
terrifying and always, always

'Hey girl, so it turns out my ex-girlfriend is pregnant and I'l going to leave you for her.'
A computer screen hums they may mean, years down role he typically gravitates
in front of me, bleary Twitter the line, to his baby girl. So toward, flashes of brilliance
updates rolling up in mechan- for those of you here for my still come when script gives
ical euphoria as comedians, typically bullshit cinematic him free reign to dictate nar-
journalists, politicians, Bill analysis - with its typically rative and director gives him
Nye The gripping scene dissection and free reign to dictate scene.
Science Guy typically discerning dialogue He excels in the films which
do their discourse - be warned: This accommodate pared down
best to burn column is about Ryan Gosling., stories in lieu of bloated
through the Nothing more, nothing less. ensemble casts. He'd never
noise in 140 It would be wrong to say I do well in a Paul Thomas
characters stumbled across the Gos. He Anderson production - or
or less. I'm was thrust upon me, thrown for that matter, any other
jammed in at me by adoring teenage girls movie which requires a mess
a maze of in that deluge of hysteria sur- of grinding gears, storylines,
engineers. AKSHAY rounding "The Notebook." subplots to function. For
The base- SETH Being 11 at the time of its proof, look no further than
ment of the release, I could never really "Gangster Squad," a film
UGLi sits in grasp what all the fuss was nowhere close in caliber to
whispered about. I remember sitting anything on P.T. Anderson's
silence, so quiet you can there, dumbfounded by how resume, but one that buries
almost reach out and touch perfectly reasonable people Gosling in the same ways
the blanket of dejected bore- could throw up their arms in an Anderson feature would:
dom settling over our heads, such enamored glee when- beneath an avalanche of
filling labored gaps between ever this nameless, bearded memorable characters - all
the clacking of keys. And then man experienced the equiva- with something meaningful
it happens. lent of a wet t-shirt contest. to say - who fit together like
At first there's just a single, Thoughts like 'this is so fuck- puzzle pieces in the writer/
errant cry screeching itself ing stupid' flitted around my director's grander vision.
into existence from a faraway head in neon letters, but an There's no wiggle room
corner. There's no way to nail hour or so into the movie, that for him to really grab hold of
down the source, but it seems nameless bearded man, who- our attention, use it to pick
to be cracking through the ever he was, had me. He had up momentum the way he
bathrooms 100 feet away. The me right where I fucking sat. does in the scene from "The
camera quickly pans left to In classic Nichola Sparks Ntebook." In this -nsethe
' reveal a young Woman star- ashion;,the scem s f f films whi h cgit as
ing dead-faced at her laptop is written with a gener- e ectively as they do, do so
monitor, her mouth circling ous dollop of melodramatic because they stick to the ret-
around a comically perfect O. gloop heaped onto each line, ognizable mold of letting the
As the screaming dominoes seeping through every per- actor transform on screen,
across the basement, ever so formance - yet, somehow, in front of our eyes, withoutt
slowly, the camera turns back Gosling owns it. As he tries leaving the frame.
to the computer screen in to shame Rachel McAdams's In his first really sig-
front of me. Twitter updates character into giving their nificant film, "The Believer,"
storm upwards hundreds at a relationship a legitimate Gosling plays a teenager.who,
time. Madness wafts within chance, his face locks away despite being Jewish, adopts
the thousands of blipping behind hard lines of anger a violent neo-Nazi ideology.
hashtags. Ryan Gosling has and disgust. Mc.Adams looks The movie's first scene shows
given birth. Wait. No, Eva cowed, detached from her him stalking after a Jew-
Mendes has given birth. Still a material. And at first, this ish man walking toward the
father - Ryan Gosling is still contrast in style makes Gos- camera. He beats him into
a father, though. Sigh. ling's more phony choices - submission, chiding him to
Three weeks have lingered kicking a porch chair in rage, fight back. When there's no
past since that lazy Friday throwing his hands up in bla- response, the camera drifts to
afternoon I spent huddled in tant indignation - seem even a close up of Gosling's eyes.
the basement of the UGLi. phonier. Unflinching and unblink-
And in those three weeks, I've Then there's a moment, two ing, he moves toward us. It's
thought a lot about Papa Gos minutes along the clip, where an interesting choice by the
- what he's accomplished in we get nothing more than a director, to frame this evil,
his 33 years on earth, what his closeup of the actor's face as obviously flawed character
movies mean to me and what he blocks McAdams from her in the exact same position as
car, refusing to let her leave, his victim moments before.
his eyes teetering between And it works because of those
composure and convulsion. predatory, haunting eyes
DIRECTED B He hates this woman he loves - the way they bridge the
L so much; this woman who gap from hunted to hunter
S Aloves him; this woman who - a transformative theme
abandoned him for a richer, which pops up multiple times
better man; this woman who throughout the film.
once dangled happiness in Gosling's performance
front of him, now insistent on bleeds into every aspect
yanking him back to the list- of the movie, and though
less anguish we've been wit- there are many distracting
nessing for the past half hour. instances of lofty melodrama,
He still loves her. he's able to ground his emo-
It's a powerful piece of tions with a shockingly well-
performance that McAdams, realized sense of tangibility.
the director and the editor all It's this tangibility that's
wisely use as a defining point pulls us into films like "Half
in addressing their own roles. Nelson," "The Place Beyond
McAdams softens almost The Pines" and to a certain
immediately,-a transforma- degree "Crazy, Stupid Love."
tion we cut to and from for "Drive" is an amalgamation
the better part of a minute of those principles on ste-
as the conversation bounces roids. There's barely a single
between two people laying line uttered by Gosling. Just,
everything out on the table. by turns, wounded looks
Until, finally, the camera toward the camera and heat-
settles on a two-shot of both ed pauses of fiery silence.
leads occupying opposite All of these examples fall
sides of the frame - defeated, in line with a body of work
dejected, though for once, that cries out "natural actor,"
equally aware of each other's and in every sense of the

pain, word, (beyond all the memes)
-- I don't usually use the term that's what Gosling is: a natu-
"methodical" when describ- ral actor.
ing "The Notebook." But this
is clean, methodical film-
making at its best. It hinges Seth is looking at pictures of
completely on Gosling's Ryan Gosling. To send him more,
portrayal, and he more than e-mail akse@umich.edu.
While it may not be the



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