Sign in using your account with
Gone: An 'Is She Crazy, Is She Sane' Psychological Thriller
Jill (Seyfried) doesn’t have the best relationship with the police. After being kidnapped and thrown into a hole in the middle of the forest, which she luckily managed to escape from, the police refused to believe a word she said and stuck her in a mental institution. Fast forward a bit and she’s out of the loony bin, dealing with anxiety problems, carrying a gun and taking kickboxing lessons. She comes home one day from her waitressing job to find her sister gone. Convinced that the kidnapper came back for her and took Molly (Wickersham) instead, she tries to get the police to take her claims seriously, but to no avail. Left with no other choice, she takes to the streets piecing together the clues to find Molly and her kidnapper, before time runs out.
This thriller requires you to suspend your powers of logic for a while. While for the most part it tries to be more of a psychological thriller, the moments which require Jill to do some actual sleuthing are a long shot - to put it mildly. The clues she finds as to the kidnapper’s whereabouts are either absurdly simple or completely farfetched. The latter in particular are a real crime since the kidnapper keeps asserting that he kidnapped Molly to lure Jill. If his aim was truly to lure Jill, the clues he left her wouldn’t have been so discreet, random and easily overlooked.
Also, the characters are pretty shallow. The police officers are uniformly incompetent or lazy or a mixture of both. They stand around looking annoyed for the whole film. As for Jill, she’s rather strange. She fluctuates between two states: one in which she’s single-mindedly obsessed with saving her sister and the other in which she compulsively lies to everyone she meets. The first is logical and, based on her own history with the kidnapper and her relationship with Molly, highly understandable. The latter however is just plain odd. We’re never given a motive or reason for why she’s such a pathological liar and it seems rather out of character. Would somebody in her nerve-wracking situation have it in them to lie so well, or keep their numerous stories straight for that matter? We’re told that Jill stuck to her story for the entire time that she was locked up in hospital. Would somebody who wouldn’t tell a fib to get out of a mental hospital become a chronic liar?
In addition to being a liar, the film also keeps trying to push the possibility that Jill isn’t really all there in the head, though seeing as it’s Jill’s word against that of the useless police force, the idea never really registers the way it should in order to give the film a decent psychological bend and keep the viewers guessing.
Despite its inconsistencies, Gone manages to be a decent, light thriller until the ending which derails the film completely. It’s not innovative and the film is very basic despite the attempt to give it depth. However, it’s rather fast paced and Seyfried makes for a very watchable heroine, even if her character makes little sense and is unworthy of her talent.
Given the reasonable star-power behind it, much was expected of The Angriest Man in Brooklyn – loosely adapted from a relatively unknown film titled, The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum.
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson – see Sum of All Fears – and written by Daniel Taplitz, the film is centred on Henry Altmann (Williams); a crabby family man and a real-estate broker who’s prone to raging outbursts which sadly, have resulted in estranged relationships with his wife, Bette (Leo) and son, Tommy (Linklater).
After a series of medical tests and examinations, Henry soon meets Dr. Sharon Gill (Kunis); a seemingly worn-out doctor who informs him that he has suffered an aneurism. She adds fire to the fuel by telling her unstable patient that he only has ninety-two minutes to live.
Henry rushes out of the hospital and quickly hits the road of redemption. In an attempt to mend broken relationships with Bette, his son, Tommy, and brother, Aaron (Dinklage), Henry needs to hurry before it is too late.
Undecided on what it wants to say, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is probably one of the most bewildering and cringe-inducing films of the year. Lost and with little structure behind its premise, the film – just like its main character – spirals out of control pretty quickly and one too many ideas, stories and subplots are thrown into the mix, without ever giving it enough room or time to explore them.
Nonetheless, watching Williams in action is always interesting, no matter how crazy and the late Oscar-winner is once again given free reign and even though, he does go a little overboard with the theatrics at times.
Draining, lazy and painfully sloppy, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is likely to throw viewers into fits of rage, too. An understandable reaction to sitting through eighty-three minutes of nonsensical and unfunny blabber.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel of the same name and directed by the truly great Mr. David Fincher, Gone Girl, a delightfully engrossing and terribly disturbing tale of marriage, love and lies has emerged as one of the best psychological thrillers in years.
Set in a quiet town in the state of Missouri, the story is centred on Nick (Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Pike); a married couple who have shared a relatively happy life for over five years. That is until one day, Nick returns home to discover that their home has been vandalised and that Amy has mysteriously disappeared.
The case is taken up by Detective Boney (Dickens) and Officer Gilpin (Fugit) and the search for Amy catches the attention of the media, who immediately paint Nick as being the number one suspect.
With the media and the police all over him, he decides to hire renowned legal defence attorney, Tanner Bolt (Perry), who might be able to help him clear his name. However, if he is as innocent as he says he is, why does he need a lawyer if he doesn’t have anything to hide?
If you haven’t read Gillian Flynn’s novel and you’re unfamiliar with the story then you’re probably better off not reading the plot; the less you know about it, the better. What you do need to know, however, is that manipulation, deceit and desperation are the key themes explored here and in true Fincher fashion, nothing is as it seems and no one is who they say they are. Amusingly, there’s plenty of dry-humour to be found hidden underneath all of its layers and facades as well as a few implicit stabs at the media and all of its excessive meddling and unwarranted exploitations.
Affleck is almost perfect as the grieving husband who you don’t know whether to console or scold; his quiet and innocent demeanour is key and he manages to keep the aura of mystery all the way throughout. As his missing wife, Pike is equally affecting and her lingering and enigmatic presence is definitely deserving of the same amount of praise, if not more.
In the end, Gone Girl is a must-see; provocative, smart and incredibly engaging, this is Fincher - the man who bought us Fight Club, Se7en and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – at his best.