Trailer or Spoiler: Watch the Chilling New Teaser for David Fincher’s Gone Girl

Gone Girl, movie, poster, David Fincher, Gillian Flynn, Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike

Teaser poster for David Fincher’s Gone Girl

As promised, 20th Century Fox has delivered a brand new trailer for their upcoming mystery, Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Phew! The tension in this is nearly as taut as that final scene in Se7en as we wait for Brad Pitt to look in the box. Where’s Amy? What happened to her? Did Nick kill her? Is that enough to make America hate him? Why is Tyler Perry playing the lawyer? Hey, isn’t that the ‘crazy gun lady’ from The Leftovers?

So, trailer or spoiler?  You may have think that this trailer gives the game away, but as someone who’s read Gillian Flynn’s book who also knows that Flynn wrote the screenplay with a different ending to keep readers interested in the film version, and viewers from getting spoiled, I can tell you that it does not.

Sure, it looks and feels like a David Fincher film in style and tone, so if you have seen any of this films, you know that what you get before you buy your ticket and plant your butt in the seat, is not necessarily what you’re going to get when you do. And if you take away nothing else from this trailer, pay attention to those last two lines: “Ever hear the expression ‘simplest answer’s often the correct one?” “Actually I’ve never found that to be true.”

Directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn — Gone Girl unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

The film opens in the US and the UK on October 3. The supporting cast includes Scoot McNary, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Carrie Coon, Missi Pyle, Sela Ward, Casey Wilson, Boyd Holbrook and David Clennon.

So, what did you think of the second full-length Gone Girl trailer? Are you in?

Trailer…No Spoiler! 1st Look at David Fincher’s Gone Girl

Ben Affleck, Gone Girl, still, movie

As I’ve noted more than once on this blog, movie trailers which deliver the intended tease without actually spoiling the whole thing are few and far between, which is why it’s worth mentioning when discussing the first full-length trailer for David Fincher’s Gone Girl.
Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, whose beautiful wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), has disappeared and is eventually presumed dead. Of course, the husband is the prime suspect. Take a look:

Having read the book, I can tell you that there is much more than meets the eye in this first 90 seconds of footage. I think Affleck is a good choice to play Nick. He’s a man used to coasting by on his boyish charm, and good looks. Affleck’s trademark crooked grin will serve him well.  Amy Dunne is always described as beautiful in a cultured and classic way, a description that fits Pike, in my humble opinion.
I’m not sold on the supporting cast, which we don’t really see a lot of here. I can’t imagine that I’m going to like Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, a small, but pivotal role, but I do think I’ll like Kim Dickens as Det. Rhonda Boney. I have no doubt that Neil Patrick Harris will kill it as Desi. Carrie Coon plays Nick’s twin sister Margo (called ‘Go). I don’t know her from anything other than the trailer for HBO’s “The Leftovers”. Coon is a NY stage actress and she must have really impressed Fincher, since ‘Go is crucial.
Speaking of Fincher, in addition to his trademark thrills, and a few chills, he’s promised that even those of us who have read the book are in for some surprises. After filming Stieg Larsson’s beloved “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, he decided he’d been too slavishly devoted to the source material. With Gone Girl, and with author Gillian Flynn’s enthusiastic support, he’s supposedly deconstructed the novel and put it back together again. (He’d just about have to. So much of the book is epistolary, in the form of Amy’s diary entries. )
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who scored The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, are back to do the music, and just as they did with Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song” for that trailer, they’ve provided a cover, this time of Elvis Costello’s “She” (sung by Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs) for Gone Girl’s first look. Perfect-JMHO.

Gone Girl, David Fincher, Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, magazine cover

Hugh Jackman Gives Prisoners Conviction

Prisoners, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, poster, movie

I still hate this overly photoshopped mess of a poster. I mean, who is that?

It was way back in May that I first talked about Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. At that time I posted the trailer and asked if it was just me, or did the thing give away too much of the movie? As it turns out, it was just me and no, while the trailer might have led us (notice how I’m now including others) to believe that we could figure out where director Denis Villeneuve and writer Aaron Guzikowski have gone, believe me when I tell you that it only took us about a quarter of the way.  So first, let me just admit that I was wrong; happily, thankfully wrong, and then say, “Well done, sirs!”.

Prisoners, is not an easy film to watch. It’s a spellbinding and morally complex thriller with an unquestionably career-best performance from Hugh Jackman.  It’s also the harsh and often brutal story of two Pennsylvania families as they suffer the soul-rending experience of a parent’s worst nightmare after their daughters are both kidnapped.  It’s dark,  twisted,  and harrowing . What starts with a bucolic image of father and son on a hunting expedition, builds and builds and builds (with help from the great cinematographer Roger Deakins and his steely gray/blue color palette and Johan Johannsson’s haunting score) until the tension becomes, at times, almost unbearable.

The film turns “been there, done that, seen it before” tropes and stereotypes on their heads, though, starting with the fact that Hugh Jackman’s Keller Dover and Terrence Howard’s Franklin Birch are so effortlessly friends. They spend holidays together (the movie begins at Thanksgiving). Their wives are friends, their children are friends, including the two older teenagers. Why this is worth noting is not just the obvious, but that the Birches are the more affluent of the two.  Howard is white collar with a bigger, nicer house, nicer car etc. Keller is a carpenter. Blue-collar, whose family has probably been in the same area of rural Pennsylvania for generations; a man of faith who still teaches his son to “be ready” for anything.  All things considered (and especially when we find out what he’s storing in his basement), in another movie we would expect Dover and Birch to be at odds. It is but one deftly avoided cliché.

Another is that suspect number one, Alex (an amazingly creepy Paul Dano), lives with his aunt (Melissa Leo) in the kind of run-down, single-story, cookie-cutter aluminum sided example of depressed suburbia where all serial killers, pedophiles and drug dealers tend to reside, at least in the movies. But Villenueve, and Gruzikowski’s script, let us know that not only are they aware of these things, they let us know  that it’s okay if we’re aware of them, because they’re just the tip of the iceberg.  We know from the trailer that the police are forced to let Alex go, at which point Keller, who is as sure as we are that Alex is guilty, takes matters into his own hands, abducting the suspect and chaining him up. Again, we know this from the trailer. But if we think we’re in for another tired, trite and banal story of vigilante justice, we are wrong. This is only the beginning.

We first see Jake Gyllenhaal’s Detective Loki  watching the rain come down in sheets against the window of a Chinese restaurant (more like a diner). Despite the bright fluorescent lighting, the rain closes in the space, making it feel very forlorn. He’s spending Thanksgiving alone, flirting with the waitress, and on call, ready to respond to his radio. Loki is a study in contrasts. We are told that he has never failed to solve a case, which lets him get away with insulting his superiors.  Despite his wide blue eyes, Loki’s face is closed, like the top button on his shirts, the collars of which don’t entirely cover what look like gang tatts.  He’s so solemn that when he does smile, we’re instantly on our guard and expecting him to explode in barely-contained rage.

But Hugh Jackman is the heart of this movie. Keller Dover is always at the epicenter despite the puzzles and twists and turns that Guzikowski’s brilliant script has laid out for us. More suspects crop up and seem to fall away while Jackman’s character comes apart at the seams, his family in shreds.  Meanwhile Loki , who has become single-mindly obsessed with the case is in a similar state, but manages to internalize his damage.

Every single character is absolutely vivid and multi-dimensional. We are given details that define them,  allow us glimpses into their lives, but do not define their actions and vice versa.  Villeneuve maintains a delicate balance between holding the audience in a death grip and yet still manages to allow the film to take its time without rushing through scenes another director might decide were unnecessary.  I don’t mean to suggest that there is anything superfluous that does make it on screen.  I don’t think there was a single aspect that was simply for “shock value” either, (although there was a scene that I wish I’d known about going in. Anyone who knows me and has seen the film, knows to what I refer).

The acting is, as you would expect from a cast like this, stellar. Despite very limited screen time, Maria Bello and Viola Davis both give us indelible portraits of the various stages of a mother’s desperation and grief.

One of Gyllenhaal’s greatest strengths as an actor is that he is continuously underrated so that he’s still capable of astonishing us. If you ‘ve seen David Fincher’s Zodiac, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that it’s as though Gyllenhaal is almost giving us the flipside of the detective he played in that film.  Loki is almost Robert Graysmith several years on, his eagerness beaten down by time and circumstance into Loki’s haunted dread.

The final reel belongs to Melissa Leo, who despite being given a role front-loaded with opportunities to chew up and spit out the scenery, instead takes things down so far and so quiet that we have to pay attention and hang on her every word while our empathy slowly turns to horror and disgust.

Still and all, it is Jackman that will be remembered come awards season. His Keller Dover is an earthy, rugged “every man”; a true believer gut-punched into questioning his beliefs and pushed to the edge of hopelessness. It has been suggested that he should now hang up his adamantium claws and mutton-chop whiskers lest he be typecast; that he shouldn’t have to toil in the land of the comic book heroes any longer because now the world will see his “range”. I submit that not only has it been there all along (one has only to look at his CV on imdb), even if, like so many other actors, he is the best thing about a questionable movie, but that part of his appeal is that he can do a movie like Prisoners as well as Real Steel or The Wolverine or even voice a character in an animated film like Flushed Away.  But beyond that, I don’t see anything wrong with making a movie, provided it’s done well, purely for the sake of entertainment. I enjoyed Australia (even if it didn’t quite reach the heights of the classic Hollywood romances like Casablanca to which it aspired) and I liked The Fountain and The Prestige and Deception as well.  (Oddly enough, the one role I can honestly say I wasn’t entirely thrilled with, is the one for which he received his first ever Oscar nomination, that of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. I know I’m out on a limb with that opinion.)  Frankly, I think Hugh Jackman is one of those actors, nay those people, that are so appealing that we’ll buy them in anything. (The only comparison I can think of is Tom Cruise and before you tell me I’m nuts, you have to remember that whatever we think about him here at home, he’s still the biggest movie star in the world.) I submit that Jackman won us over during that song and dance during the Oscars in ’02 and he hasn’t looked back.  Not to mention, with X-Men: Days of Future Past, he will have played Logan/the Wolverine in 7 films and produced the two stand-alones. I think he’s okay with it.

The best thing about this film, in my humble opinion is its restraint. In the pacing certainly, in the acting definitely, but most of all,  despite the fact that we and the characters involved are faced with the weighty issues of morality, justice, right and wrong, we aren’t ever taken by the hand and led to an “obvious” conclusion. What might have, in less gifted hands, been nothing more than the best, most brutal “procedural” ever, becomes something more. Avoiding cliché and focusing on the drama, Villanueve allows us to absorb everything and draw our own conclusions and that applies to both the joyous moments and the horrific ones. We are spoon fed nothing. To my mind, the ending, the final shot, was perfectly spot on. (Some members of the audience I saw it with disagreed. Especially the man who yelled “Seriously?” at the screen.)

Prisoners with Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Len Cariou, Dylan Minnette, Zoe Soul, Erin Gerasimovich, Kyla-Drew Simmons, Wayne Duvall, and David Dastmalchian, directed by Denis Villanueve from a screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski has been embraced by audiences in the US (succeeding not only due to word of mouth, but to a large extent due to Jackman’s appeal) and just opened in the UK.  It is a two-and-a-half hour slow-burn that probably won’t lose anything in the translation to home viewing, but it’  an intelligent “adult” movie, the likes of which are few and far between. So go to the theater and support it. Prisoners is at times difficult to watch, but watch it you must.

So, have you seen it? Do you agree? Disagree? Anything? Bueller…. Feel free to sound off below.





From their website:

"The International Film Music Critics Association announces the winners of its seventh annual awards for excellence in musical scoring in 2010 with John Powell’s score for the animated film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON topping the list, winning both Film Score of the Year and Best Score for an Animated Film. Alexandre Desplat receives three awards: Best Score for a Drama Film (THE KING’S SPEECH), Best Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film (THE GHOST WRITER) and Composer of the Year."

 I’m doing the demented poodle dance right now!

I couldn’t be happier or more excited that Powell and HTTYD have been recognized in this way. I love the fact that this organization differentiates between types of scores. I am a little confused, however, how they can decide that HTTYD has the Best Score of the Year and yet Alexandre Desplat is the Composer of the Year.

The seeming disparity actually it reminds me of the Oscar races for Best Director and Best Picture. Many pundits and critics are still predicting David Fincher will take Best Director for The Social Network while also guessing The King’s Speech will win Best Picture. I guess that means that scores can compose themselves just like films can direct themselves.

So what does this win mean for John Powell and HTTYD‘s chances on Sunday night?

Desplat’s last win in which he went head to head with Powell was at the BAFTAs. Not at all surprising given the rout that the ‘veddy British’ The King’s Speech perpetrated on its competitors. The question remains how will either one of them do Sunday night against Golden Globe winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. I realize there are two other films also nominated and Hans Zimmer can never be counted out, particularly when support for Inception seems to be gaining ground. A.R. Rahmin, who won in 2009 for both score and song for Slumdog Millionaire should probably just be happy to be nominated.

IF Powell has to lose, I’d much rather it be to Desplat, who has been nominated four times for some truly beautiful music, including the score for The Queen, but has never won, than to Reznor and Ross for a score that I don’t think anyone will be listening to nor even remember next year. 

That being said, I really really really want Powell to win.

As always, thanks for reading. Since I can’t give you pics of music…