Gone Girl (2014) vs The Captive (2014)

Gone Girl 2014. Director David Fincher

Gone Girl 2014. Director David Fincher

A couple weeks aback I sat to watch Gone Girl (2014) finally. Everyone was raving about it, I thought to myself, let’s give this film a chance. Honestly, I was not very interested to watch, I was never a fan of Ben Affleck, and no I have not seen Argo. For me, the sound score, the cinematography, the director, etc was all drawing me in, but the fact that Mr. Affleck was going to have top billing, discouraged me so much. I still stand by my previous remarks; Gone Girl was not worth the hype. Despite an unhinged, crazy leading lady, this film disappointed on so many levels. It was a very lineal plot, as most thrillers start out being, and by 45-mins in, I was bored.

The Thriller Genre is littered with disappointing films. Much are intriguing for the 1st 45-mins, but as the story unfolds, things unravel and are seldom as good as the tension promised. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of this genre, when done right.  Films like Fargo (1996), Hannibal Films, Shutter Island (2000) and Memento (2000) are the prides of this genre, and all have one important aspect in common; an enthralling protagonist. The Protagonist has to be loveable, relatable and to an extent, tragic. Unfortunately, for Mr. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) the audience did not feel for him. I felt as though Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry needed more camera time, as their stories were more captivating then that of the protagonist. Given, Rosamund Pike (Amy Dunne) character was delivered wonderfully, it did not captivate me. I believed her instability, but did not sympathise with her. Many times, the villain of a thriller, is usually given a voice; a chance to explain and humanise their point of view. This usually makes for a very dynamic relationship between the hero and the villain, however, in Gone Girl (2014) I thought the reasons for her instability were childlike and non sympathetic. A rich, spoilt girl as an attention seeking adult seems shallow and frankly a bit distasteful.

I know I have only said the negatives of the film, but the only aspects saving this one from the garbage pile is the impeccable choices of home back drops, the sound score and the pristine and highly static camera positions. Director, David Fincher is best known for his work in Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999) and The Social Network (2010). Fincher even rehired Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to do the sound score for both The Social Network (2010) and Gone Girl (2014). Despite an experienced Director, a strong Sound score and a best seller novel to back Gone Girl (2014) this film was not good. I will give it, 2 out of 5 stars.

The Captive. 2014. Director Atom Egoyan

The Captive. 2014. Director Atom Egoyan

As an interesting comparison to Gone Girl (2014) is Canadian Director, Atom Egoyan The Captive (2014). This film was a limited release, about a month after Gone Girl and to me, was vastly better. The Captive (2014) is a film of voyeurism, people not being as they seem and a twisting, engaging, enthralling storyline, that kept you interested from beginning to end.  I really enjoyed this film. The story revolves around a father whose daughter is taken from his truck, at a pie shop, one evening. She is taken by what is seemingly a group of pedophiles that enjoy watching little girls. She is trapped in a house, and monitored for years. The plot jumps from years forward to years back, really messing with the audiences sense of time. Good character design and clothing help navigate the chronology of the story, which makes it exciting and keeps the audience engaged. The scenes of the villain watching the little girl as she watches her mother via a spy camera are so visceral and tight; really wonderfully shot. These scenes interests the most as it really illustrates the director’s hand and his interest in film. Tight compositions and really good camera placement shows the mark if an academic director. I really like that at no point did the scenes feel cramped. It was is if you were able to see everything in a given room with no issue.

Ryan Reynolds (Mathew) plays a pensive, strong, father, and portrays the role wonderfully. Despite the fact that we know very little about any of the characters, we are side by side with them; worried, scared, angry, afraid.  The film takes the time to show the landscape. The audience feels as if they were standing in the landscape with the actors, very much like Fargo (1996). Likewise, the environment was played as a character, a tool when done right tremendously adds to the film. I don’t want to give too much away as the film is striking yet subtle with its plot points. I think you should give this film a chance. It is riveting, strong and a good addition to the Thriller Genre. Atom Egoyan is still a very new director to me, but I will be following his career closely and watching a few of his older films. I will give The Captive 4 out of 5 stars.

I hope you guys have enjoyed my reviews, and please look out for a few more to come.

Cheers and Happy Reading!

SaabiraR.