I wonder if we are yet sick and tired of talking and thinking about Gone Girl. I doubt it. In fact this may well be the monumental motion picture we will still talk about once we have put everything else to bed. That includes the Academy Awards. And while we still afford the time to have this in our minds, rather than write yet another Gone Girl review (having myself not really written about the movie yet), I implore whoever concerned to give this movie the recognition it deserves. If the following eight all get an Oscar nomination in an month I’ll be thrilled – only Supporting Actress seems to be the wildcard in my opinion.
Gone Girl: For Your Consideration in the following categories (there are some SPOILERS coming up):
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – CARRIE COON
Playing the twin sister of Ben Affleck’s Nick, Carrie Coon portrays Margo (Go) right out of the book to perfection. She is a tough, honest-speaking, and dependable, even when at times in this story she ends up with the shitty end of the stick. Coon delivers her dialogue with an outspoken, and foul-mouthed integrity, always having her brother’s back while trying to keep him in line. If the current run of awards are any indication then Coon has little to no chance of securing a Supporting Actress nomination (Kim Dickens too is excellent). But we kind of knew that, if all the same we are truly supporting her potentially being acknowledged. It is a tough category to crack, especially if buzz is not quick out of the tracks, but the subtle performance is so magnetic she certainly deserves her place in that category.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – JEFF CRONENWETH
It seems over the years David Fincher has gathered the kind of collaborators that suit the style he artistically wants to pull off. Having grabbed Oscar nominations for Fincher’s previous two movies The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth returns to photograph the Gillian Flynn adaptation. And it has to be said that Gone Girl looks gorgeous for all it’s intrigue and secrets. The camera movements glide and linger through multiple angles and viewpoints, and you sometimes barely notice the motion at all it is so seamless. Cronenweth’s camera could not be better placed throughout, dimly lighting up the bleak and impeccably neat surroundings. A pleasure to watch regardless of what it is you are watching.
David Fincher movies in Best Picture contention is one of the highest debated issues in recent Oscar years. It was least Fincher-esque The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that warmed Academy hearts, but still lost. And it was The Social Network that wowed pretty much all the critics but did not perhaps have quite enough heart for the Academy sadly. Missing person / revenge thriller Gone Girl looks to be in a really good position to join the list (one without The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo somehow), but looks to have strong competition in a year were the darker, more experimental movies are really shining. From the book, through the publicity, then promising reviews, and subsequent box office success, as well as the fact this is a genuinely compelling film, Gone Girl is heading in the right direction for a Best Picture nomination.
BEST DIRECTOR – DAVID FINCHER
I would struggle to digest it if someone did not recognize the directorial skills of David Fincher – you know, the basics, like his immaculate framing of shadows and lights, that he is basically an educator of film studies and story-telling. What I will add though is that when it comes to the smaller aspects of a frame or shot, he does not miss a trick. In Gone Girl then, immediately after it’s use, the box-cutter is seen hurled towards the camera and beyond in a flash cut-away. The superb midpoint scene starting Amy’s point of view has a moment when she starts smoking and splutters (as you would). These are blink and you miss it moments that don’t even need to be written in the screenplay, but significant junctures in a movie, and are integral to Gone Girl here. Part of his appeal and impact is Fincher’s attention to detail, his direction is spotless and uncompromisingly commanding of the excellent material.
BEST FILM EDITING – KIRK BAXTER
Working without his previous editing partner Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter has two Oscars already, also for Fincher’s last two movies – but goes solo for Gone Girl. No offence to Wall, but there is nothing lost here. And you notice passages between shots and frames, that are so smooth and advancing, they are often easier transitions that turning the page of a book. The sequences of time and point of view (or both) are immaculate. Even the cuts of mere glances and reactions are great (there are many of these), not to mention the more pacey, sensational moments that are indeed heavily indebted to Baxter’s work here.
As with The Social Network and The Girl with the The Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ dark and penetrating scores have mainly been present to enhance or support the mood, rather than telling you how to feel. Though at times the music is so good it can literally affect the beating of your heart. In Gone Girl, even the recurring romantic theme (Sugar Storm for instance) is an aid, like Amy’s diary is, to make those romantic impressions on you, whether you know the reality or not at that stage – it still works. And when they need to crank up the haunting factor or the dramatic tension (Consummation), they oblige – be it room-shakingly loud, or eerie noises in the background. Reznor and Ross are proving once again to be the most prolific and most accomplished film scoring duo in the game.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – GILLIAN FLYNN
Any parts of Gone Girl the book that alter from or are not even present in Gone Girl the movie are all the responsibility of Gillian Flynn. When I read her book (diminished to an airport read by some) I was addicted and hardly halted – this included time while travelling out of the country for leisure. Working with David Fincher is a bonus, but that responsibility as a screenwriter seems to have been executed with total expertise. An Oscar win for Flynn in this category would be a highly celebrated and warranted victory for women writer’s (adapting their own work no less} in the movie industry – but also a fine win in it’s own right, this is clearly an ambitious and strong screenplay from the very compelling source novel.
BEST ACTRESS – ROSAMUND PIKE
Seeing Rosamund Pike cast as Amy in Gone Girl flipped our minds back to the snippets of work (An Education, a Bond girl for instance) we knew her from before. Except now, seeing the movie and Pike’s dynamic performance makes it hard for us to remember anything else she has done prior to this at all. Her Amazing Amy in its entirety is like a slow burning kaleidoscope of personas, emotions, and physical transformations (see gallery below). Barring the hair dye and Kit Kat frenzy, this includes her voice, her tone and accent changing with the discourse of current situations (diary-writer, the Nancy alias, scorned wife) – and it is an incredible achievement given Pike’s charming, and well-spoken English accent out of character. Her presence in Gone Girl is often larger than the movie itself, but ever distracting or irrelevant. It is a struggle then to know where you stand with this character. Pike breathes so much life and emotion into the scenes (she has in the palm of her hand) that the sympathy, anger, envy, fear you feel towards her simply shifts from one moment to the next. We’ve been talking about Rosamund Pike for many months now, and she is still swirling around our thoughts having seen Amy in the flesh. I stand by what I have said many times already, that this is where the Best Actress prize should be heading.