What if an alien in the future stumbled upon David Fincher’s Gone Girl? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
This week’s film:
Gone Girl (2014)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
Director: David Fincher
Production Co: Twentieth Century Fox, Regency Enterprises
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey (http://www.ryanhaileydotcom.com/)
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Produced by: Jacob S. Salamon
Gone Girl’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Gone Girl, directed by Being John Malkovich actor David Fincher and starring Argo and Gone Baby Gone director Rosamund Pike. The film follows Nick Well-Dunne, a beefy Earthling dish who comes home one day to find his wife Amy has gone AWOL, which stands for “absent without leaving a note.” The no nonsense female detective finds evidence of a struggle, and conclude without any nonsense that Amy was murdered. Audible gasp! That’s audible.com/gasp. Nick becomes the prime cut suspect because come on, look at his face. The detective also finds Amy’s diary, but she refuses to read it because of the girl code. After everyone dicks around for a while, it’s revealed that Amy has been alive all along.
Only on a Class 12 planet! She orchestrated the whole thing as a goof to get back at Nick for sentencing her to life in the Midwest and then cheating on her with Blurred Lines. Nick hires the fastest lawyer in the world, Usain Bolt, who advises him to go on television, a thriving medium that will definitely be around for a long time in an increasingly web centric marketplace. Meanwhile, Amy is robbed in the jungle by some Mozarts, and calls up her old stalker Barney to help hide her. And he does, because that guy is legen– wait for it… ds of the Guardians the Owls of Ga’hoole.
But then Amy sees Nick on TV and she likes him again because he’s famous. So she kills Barney and frames him for her kidnapping, letting Nick off Scott-Peterson free. Amy now wants to rekindle paperwhite the flame with Nick, which he’s not exactly psyched about since he’s more of a Nook man. But too late: she artificially inseminated herself with his seed and the media will crucify him if he bails now. Moral of the story: don’t get married. Gone Girl demonstrates how a well constructed narrative can prevail over reality, even in a movie that couldn’t manage a Best Picture nom.
The film posits that 21st century humans are unwilling or unable to discern truth in the face of some juicy goss. Amy’s version of events contains all the classic elements of a typical “true crime” program, including the violent husband, a turbo-charged life insurance policy, and an ice cold Pepsi twist: pregnancy. Early on, the film introduces the idea that people can be easily pigeonholed. Which is a tasty bit of foreshadowing, since Amy is a professional pigeonholer. Just like a child with too much Play-Doh, the media molds Amy and Nick into a perfect wife and a full fledged monster, making a mess all over the living room carpet.
A coerced smile on television turns into damning evidence of Nick’s heartlessness, and a quick selfie on some cougar’s Samsung Galaxy Note explodes in everyone’s faces. With the help of Usain Bolt and the entire country of Jamaica, Nick gains control of the narrative. The media immediately switches gears, playing up Nick’s redemption angle like a flugelhorn played upwards. The truth doesn’t matter. All that matters is a good story. The power of the narrative is proven by the film’s impact on the viewer, which is mostly me, but also you. For the first half of the film, the audience is lulled into trusting Amy, who is presented as a beautiful, erudite woman from a good family with no history of heart disease.
Amy’s story has the indicia of truth, as it is presented through her diary, which is like a Tumblr with zero followers, and therefore has no incentive to lie. When Amy turns out to be not only not dead, but a zany, adorkable prankster, we realize we have been manipulated by our expectations. Except that I didn’t get to be manipulated because someone ruined it for me. Telling someone there’s a twist counts a spoiler, Karen! The title “Gone Girl” refers to both the disappearance of Amy’s physical self and the destruction of her personal identity. Amy spent much of her life trying to live up to others’ impossible expectations, namely the “Amazing” version of her that her parents created. And also Harry Potter, for some reason. The line between Amy’s life and the storybook becomes blurred, which is just another cruel reminder of Nick’s infidelity.
Even Nick’s marriage proposal is a performance, with Nick playing the journalist and Amy serving as his editorial on tort reform. Indeed, the men in Amy’s life take over her identity just as her parents did before them, and her children will long after she’s dead. When Amy meets Nick, she
believes that she must become “cool girl” in order to win him over. But Amy doesn’t want to be cool; she wants to be a weirdo. She equates the sacrifice of her true personality to murder, the most heinous of all metaphorical crimes. Later, Barney expresses his own vision of who Amy should be, telling her she shouldsuit up.
We might as well equate that to murder too, while we’re at it. Ultimately, Amy’s personality becomes so distorted that nobody knows who the real Amy is – including herself. But I think we’ve all been there, right? No? No one else with dissociative identity disorder? Just me? And me. Ok good, at least there’s two of us. For Earthling Cinema, we’re Garyx Wormuloid. Peace out.