[DN1015] Gone Girl – Reflection

The film Gone Girl’s been the one good psychological thriller I needed since months back when I watched Se7en.

Amy is an extremely intelligent woman who is more than borderline manipulative as we discover through multiple deliberate stagings within the case at hand involving her husband, Nick Dunne. As the film progressed, we see Amy trying to take on this hyper masculine role to defend herself. With her new appearance and faked identity, Nancy, Amy takes on a Louisiana / Texas sort-of South American accent that we previously heard Detective Rhonda Boney have a slight hint of. The accent seems to take on an important but subtle role in the film.

Southern women are often noted for how strong and independent they are. Loving vibrancy and lots of colours, these women are opinionated and very independent. Think Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, singer and actress Dolly Parton and writer Zora Neale Hurston.

 

Amy is not your archetypical woman right from the beginning of the film. Her upbringing was of the middle-upper or even the upper classes and she had certificates from Harvard hanging on the walls of the kitchen.

From a plan that was in its entirety, delicately controlled by Amy to something that she loses her grasp on, the sudden turn of events also somehow seem mediated and part of her plan a, b, c, d as denoted with her post-its of different colours. It was even to the extent of planning months ahead and figuring out counter-plans if one were to go off schedule or unexpectedly. So as this independent and extremely book smart AND street smart lady who is capable of planning such intricate plans of framing another, she is someone not to be messed with. If I were to commit suicide, I’d be just like Amy, elaborately planning out how to frame someone or send people on a wild goose chase, making people’s lives a living hell of fun haha.

 

Back to the main point, David Fincher’s choice in camera movements really amaze me and the video down below summarises a huge part of it. It is often overlooked because of how minute and how slight each movement is but through either tilting, panning or tracking alongside the characters’ emotions and physical movements, he brings forth so much internal emotional dialogue the characters have to the audience. It’s as though we are able to see through them like a sheet of clear plastic. This in Gone Girl? Simply amazing.

 

[DN1015] Baby Driver – Reflection

This post is going to be such an informal one but I have to admit that never in my life would I have guessed that I’d like Baby Driver this much before watching it. [SPOILER ALERT]

This film’s been mentioned a couple of times in classes and I’ve recently been researching on how visual comedy is done through cinematography, camera movements and cuts alongside music. One director that I came across was Edgar Wright with his distinct style of editing to the music.

This is the video I first came across when researching and I thought it’d be nice to share it here with whoever is interested in doing visual comedy.

“Whenever I’m writing a script, I’m scoring myself by playing the right kind of music.” — Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright brings across so much energy from the scene straight to the audience we get drawn into the world right from the first moment our auditory senses tingle. Right from the opening of Baby Driver we hear a high pitched ringing that fades into a musical note before the visuals open and we hear + see the everyday traffic at a junction. Wright sets up the scene with great detail, foreshadowing something that us as audiences would never have known about (unless one went to read the synopsis before watching) that Baby has tinnitus.

There are so many fine cinematographic details that I would have gotten into details with, explicating why I love them and how they worked really well in the film but I need a mental break and maybe time to watch more of Wright’s films so I’m going to highlight one more narrative decision I think is seamlessly amazing. (that’s one long sentence to read… i apologise..)

 

“I think you have to write the film that you want to see, and try and do it honestly, and you can’t control people’s responses, really.” — Edgar Wright

I had the initial thought that Lily James’ character, Debora, would be playing a very traditional, girly, flirty and almost damsel-in-distress role in an action film as such but I was very wrong for having such assumptions. Really ashamed of myself and I should NEVER have had assumed anything in a film let alone an ACTION film where anything and everything can happen.

Leaving my guilt aside, Debora surprised me at times with how wittily Edgar Wright wrote and directed her to be such a multi-layered, almost onion bulb sort of character. From the start of the film, there is a scene where Baby is first seen getting four black coffees for the team. Here, a girl wearing a striking yellow dress and a denim jacket with purple headphones is seen walking past the storefront, catching Baby’s attention. This is Debora.

Secondly, when we see her again on her first day of work at the diner, she walks in with the same denim jacket and headphones but with a black button up shirt-dress. Heard singing a song with Baby’s name even before she meets him for the first time, she almost immediately begins flirting with Baby when she heads to his table to take his order. Expressing an interest in both cars and music much like Baby right off the bat while initiating a conversation about his mother, it all seems too good to be true.

This alluring temptation for Baby to just leave town and run off with Debora strikes multiple times in the film and it’s as though Edgar Wright is subtly planting her into the piece as a motive and drive for the film. He did it all so seamlessly, if I may say so myself, that I was convinced Debora and Baby’s romantic relationship was pure and innocent.

Side Note. Ansel Elgort was and still is really good looking.

So here’s one last video recommendation for visual comedy before I disappear to watch Shaun of the Dead.

 

“When you write something, at first you might feel very defensive and protective of every single thing, but after a while, you just see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes you do test screenings, and an audience tells you that, or sometimes you eventually just go, ‘Let’s cut the joke out.’” — Edgar Wright

[DN1015] Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Reflection

I feel really terrible to say this and I know many may think otherwise, but I didn’t like this film for the most part. Being mainly confused with the timeline in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I felt that the film could be better portrayed in another way.

Unlike Momento where there were scenes and moments that kept me on the edge of my chair with action and clues, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind failed to interest me right off the bat. It seemed like an old school romantic comedy that was rather tedious to watch.

Maybe because of the increasing number of films, shorts, fictitious novels and creative non-fiction as well as their ability to successfully “fight for” and retain audience’s attentions that do we no longer find such storylines interesting. Likewise with the introduction of Instagram and Insta-Stories, our attention span as a collective whole has fallen to less than 10 seconds. Or it could be that I am simply someone who does not gets things right off the bat as per my experience watching 1917.

“I think the emotional connection to the movie depends on how recently and how deeply you’ve been hurt by a relationship or some other emotional trauma. Something that keeps you distracted at work and sitting up sleepless nights, wondering if they’re with a new partner now, and if they’re fucking, and hoping that their new relationship fails but at the same time wishing them well… and mostly just wishing that you could forget them entirely and move on with your life. When I first saw Eternal Sunshine, I hadn’t really experienced this and it didn’t mean much to me. The second time, it was a gut punch. There are times in my life I would have been first in line to erase someone from my memory.” — christoffel_robin, 7 years ago on https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/165ox5/i_dont_like_eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind/

However, I have to say that it is interesting seeing how science fiction films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that was released in 2004 could be this progressive. I also enjoyed the soundtrack and felt it was apt in the respective scenes used.

[DN1015] 1917 – Reflection

Date & Time: 23 January 2020, 4.15pm

It took me awhile to convince myself to watch 1917 instead of Ip Man 4 that day as I am an extremely timid human being who almost never watches anything that involves me feeling great fear and anxiety. These emotions not only distract me from appreciating the plot and the cinematography, they also keep me away from a lot of wonderful works in the horror, thriller, crime and disaster genres.

Terrible as a film student but for the first half of the movie, I was very much unable to breathe in the theatre due to the suspense and tension in the atmosphere.

Details I found were interesting:
– Sam Mendes’ “one-shot” / “continuous shot” approach for 1917. The scene after Tom and Will receive orders to cross the trenches and set off across the fields strewn with dead bodies from the battle aftermaths, reminded me very much of Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory scene where General Mireau strolls through the trenches, asking several soldiers, “Ready to kill more Germans?”.

“I wanted to tell this story in two hours of “real time.” So I felt like it was a natural thing, to lock the audience into the men’s experiences. In a movie that operates more like a ticking-clock thriller at times, I wanted an audience to feel every second passing and take every step with them, and also be aware of geography and distance and physical difficulty. The feeling that you are going to have to live through the story with them is accentuated by not cutting.”

– I also enjoyed how they made the scene in the trenches aptly tight in an almost claustrophobic way that immersed us audience into the experience. It highlighted how the soldiers are like tiny ants, one in tens of thousands, tunnelling their way through safety in constant fear that the enemy could drop a bomb and kill them all. The creatively judicious decisions made truly heightened how we as audience saw and understood the story to be something more than just an ‘epic war film’.

Felt that I missed more details than I should have due to my overly emotional self, but I will be re-watching the film in the coming week. Hopefully I’ll watch it in a more critical stance this time 🙂