Retroactively Nominating Gone Girl for Best Picture (Spoiler-free)

The folks at Icy Schemes Headquarters watched David Fincher’s Gone Girl last night.  Among the six of us, only I had seen it before.  And regardless of what the haters say, my second watch allows me to confirm that this film was deprived of a shot at immortality.   I will make an effort to grant it that chance in this spoiler-free review, which, I believe, will convince you to watch the film today.  If Icy Schemes’ influence doesn’t hold the weight to propel Gone Girl back into the spotlight, I will understand; but I will never accept that this movie is a tier below those nominated for Best Picture in 2015.

In my attempt to summarize the film to a contributor before our watch, I spoiled its first half, so I’ll keep this brief and simple.  It is Nick and Amy Dunne’s five-year anniversary.  The opening scenes, however, indicate that it’s not an anniversary to be celebrated: after Nick grabs a bourbon from “The Bar” (a bar of which he is the founder and his wife is the resentful owner), he receives a phone call and drives home to find that his living room has been ransacked and his wife is missing.  Detectives arrive and, within minutes, Nick becomes the case’s primary suspect–a suspicion which will only escalate with the film’s progression. I think that Fincher satirically comments on the media’s tendency to provoke a culture of outrage, as it sways public opinion on Nick in accordance with his most recent interview or the most recent news break. And part of the film’s intrigue is that Nick is an unrelenting asshole.  Though he had worked as a professional writer (like myself) and college professor, he literally has no clue how to present himself amidst the publicity drawn by his wife’s disappearance.  He smiles for the cameras and monotonically pleads that he loves Amy, before sleeping with his mistress, a college student 14 years his junior.  He’s unwilling to cooperate with the case’s detectives and scoffs at all who doubt his innocence.

The appeal—or lack thereof—of Gone Girl is that it its two central characters act as both protagonists and antagonists.  The spoiler that I will concede is that we, the audience, are granted the privilege of seeing Amy’s every move.  Further, I’ll tell you that the movie is not entirely pleasant.  There are points at which (if you’re a coward), you’ll likely turn from the screen.  But if you’re like us at Icy HQ, you will find yourself at all points hypothesizing both Amy’s and Nick’s next move; it is a movie that stimulates the mind during your watching, rather than asking for reflection. Fincher counterbalances Nick’s depravity as a husband with Amy’s unyielding pragmatism, producing a nuanced film on which we are urged to choose a side. I think that, in some sense, it targets the millennial generation whose primary reaction to every news story is deciding whom to blame and/or condemn.  But, because this review is spoiler-free, I will withhold my final take on the film’s conclusion (though I’m happy to debate anyone in comments/DMs).  Suffice it to say that the film is one of Fincher’s masterpieces, and it’s an absolute travesty that such films as The Imitation Game, The Grand Budapest Hotel, American Sniper, and The Theory of Everything received Best Picture nominations while Gone Girl did notAnd don’t even get me started on the “artistic masterpiece” that was Birdman.  While I won’t adhere to the prisoner-of-the-moment tendency to which so many in my age group fall victim, I will go so far as to say that Gone Girl was a top-three film of the 2014-15 batch, and that Icy Schemes retroactively nominates Gone Girl for picture of the year.

-Admin Tam (@tomhall2323)

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