The past year has seen James Franco play film critic, reviewing movies like “The Great Gatsby” and “Man Of Steel.” At the same time, The Talkhouse has made a name for itself by providing a space for artists to write about other artists, which is how the late great Lou Reed came to write about Kanye West’s Yeezus and how “Donnie Darko” director Richard Kelly has ended up writing about David Fincher’s much-discussed “Gone Girl.”
Simultaneously posted on Tumblr, Kelly’s review of “Gone Girl” instead plays out as a sort of dissertation wherein Fincher’s examination (via Gillian Flynn’s amazing novel and screenplay) of a doomed marriage between incredibly flawed people is compared to another film dealing with a crumbling marriage, Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut.” In Kelly’s own words, his piece is “an epic three-part spoiler-filled 4741 word essay” and dissects everything from what Kelly sees as the common themes linking Fincher’s music video work —“sexual politics, empowerment and liberation,” a frequent focus on strong women— to the final shot of Kubrick’s final film. It’s a tome, filled to the brim with spoilers for the Fincher-directed adaptation, so tread lightly if you haven’t seen the film or read the book yet. But here’s a pretty good excerpt:
Fincher’s 10th feature film is riveting, exquisitely crafted and spectacularly entertaining. It walks a tightrope above the trappings of various genres, rising above them all to become the most unique of cinematic experiences. It is the movie we have been waiting for—and the movie we sorely deserve.
Having read Gillian Flynn’s novel before seeing the film, it became clear to me that the filmed version of Gone Girl would become —in Fincher’s deft hands— some kind of kindred spirit to the misunderstood Kubrick sexual odyssey released fifteen years ago. The blindfold is now off and the ugliness is there in plain sight.
Both Gone Girl and Eyes Wide Shut are deeply twisted, satirical and borderline maniacal erotic thrillers that seem to be made by a snickering auteur —well aware that the institution of marriage itself is being bathed in a hot dose of Tyler Durden’s corrosive lye soap from Fight Club.
Both films show broken marriages that can only be repaired by ritualistic, meticulously calculated blood sacrifices.
Both films deconstruct the patriarchal, heteronormative surface world with the introduction of a dangerous psychopath intent on preserving it.
If you’re still holding out on watching the film —or simply haven’t had a chance to yet— here’s a trio of interviews with Fincher that run nearly a half-hour long in total that will hopefully get you excited. Don’t worry about watching the interviews though: Fincher and the various interviewers take great pains in avoiding giving anything away.