Gone Girl

GG poster20th Century-Fox (2014) 149 min. R

Director: David Fincher Screenplay: Gillian Flynn; based on the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Cinematography: Jeff Cronenweth; Editing: Kirk Baxter

Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Douglas A. Mowat; Costumes: Trish Summerville; Score: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Stars: Ben Affleck (Nick Dunne), Rosamund Pike (Amy Elliott-Dunne), Neil Patrick Harris (Desi Collings), Tyler Perry (Tanner Bolt), Carrie Coon (Margo), Kim Dickens (Det. Rhonda Boney), Emily Ratajkowski (Andie), Missi Pyle (Ellen Abbott), Patrick Fugit (Officer James Gilpin), Sela Ward (Sharon Schieber), Lola Kirke (Greta), Casey Wilson (Noelle Hawthorne), Leonard Kelly-Young (Bill Dunne)

While it’s a welcome relief to see a book adapted into a movie that isn’t grounded in another teen fiction franchise, the Book-of-the-Month club mentality Gone Girl grew out of gives me pause. Big screen bestsellers come with a built-in audience, a guarantee that makes them a relatively safe investment for producers, but the sort of bookworms they attract to cinemas and who regard them as great films in the same way they classify great literature, aren’t the type who generally go to movies so can’t be the most discerning judges. Continue reading

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

dragon_tattoo_posterColumbia/MGM (2011) 158 min. R

Director: David Fincher

Screenplay: Steven Zaillian; based on the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Cinematography: Jeff Cronenweth; Editing: Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall

Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: K.C. Fox

Costumes: Trish Summerville; Score: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Stars:  Daniel Craig (Mikael Blomkvist), Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander), Christopher Plummer (Henrik Vanger), Stellan Skarsgård (Martin Vanger), Steven Berkoff (Dirch Frode), Robin Wright (Erika Berger), Yorick van Wageningen (Nils Bjurman), Joely Richardson (Anita Vanger), Julian Sands (Young Henrik)

Sometimes I feel as though the only American horror stories that still seem worth telling anymore are remakes of Asian films such as The Ring, The Grudge, One Missed Call, The Eye, Shutter, and Insidious, an American original which qualifies by default (it was directed by the Malaysian Chinese-born James Wan, who grew up in Australia). Upon seeing David Fincher’s version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2011, I’m willing to make the same assertion for American remakes of unsettling Scandinavian psychological thrillers. The movie was based on the same source as the 2009 Swedish film directed by Niels Arden Oplev and starring Noomi Rapace. Continue reading