I’m not generally in the practice of reviewing books but in this case I just could not hold myself back. There were so many things that rubbed me the wrong way about Gone Girl that it was almost painful for me to finish, but knowing it would be a twisty ending made it essential to formulate a complete opinion of the novel.
First the disclaimers:
1. Spoilers ahead!
2. I listened to the audiobook which I knew from the beginning was a huge mistake. In a story told in the first person with massive amounts of dialogue, the voice and acting abilities of the storyteller can really affect the tone of the tale. From the outset these narrators irritated me. Granted, they’re irritating characters but their inflections and characterizations of the secondary characters made a story I already disliked much worse.
Novel as film
It’s clear from the writing style as well as the numerous film and television references that this book is based in the world of cinema. Considering the state of the current film industry, where studios are looking for known properties instead of original screenplays, it makes sense that Gillian Flynn (a former writer for Entertainment Weekly) would write an easily adaptable book. Yet the writing relies too heavily on the language of cinema.
When describing situations and their emotions, the characters often compare their present states to being in a movie. This notion is repeated ad nauseum. Characters are described as playing their parts in the crime drama version of the story. But what movie? Certainly not a Korean crime drama like The Yellow Sea. Or a television show like The Killing (season 3 in particular). Flynn references only pop culture and only the most generic of it.
Flynn is constantly relying on the viewer’s knowledge of popular culture to fill in the blanks of her story. It’s like CSI! It’s like Law and Order! This feels like a cheap and easy way to construct her fictional universe. There is no new territory covered. Often when Flynn riffs on these movie/television tropes she makes sure to tell the reader that she is doing that. Yet this becomes less of an affectation of the characters, since it’s applied to all of them, but instead a shortcoming of Flynn’s writing.
I am a really big fan of Kristoffer Borgli’s Whateverest so I was pleased to find he had released a new short film. Real Life Exp. is much a much subtler narrative piece that explores what happens when two girls are locked in a swimming pool. It perfectly captures teenage boredom and playfulness. It shows two girls balancing on the edge of childhood, about to fall into the world of adulthood.
I’m excited to share that Shawn has launched a kickstarter for his newest short film ASHES OF A COWBOY. He’s been working like crazy on this project but needs some help getting it off the ground. To quote from his site:
Lately I’ve been making my films more experimental, lower profile and lower budget. For once I want to make something with a more traditional narrative and I need your help. I’d love to make a movie that my friends and family will really care about. This movie is all about great acting and telling a sincere story. For a low budget movie this will take me a lot of time, preparation, and resources.
We’ve been funding our own film projects for years and this is the first time we’ve reached out to the the community for support. If you have a few spare dollars to contribute to independent film we would be forever grateful. Even if you can’t donate, sharing the project with friends helps get the word out.
Watch the film above or checkout the kickstarter page.
I went on a boat ride today, which was lovely (and surprising because I’m mildly terrified of boats). The whole time I had the song that accompanies this video stuck in my head. I think it’s a fun animation and it reminds me a little of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared in it’s tone. Hope you enjoy it.
Looking forward to catching up with the Los Angeles Film Festival in the next few days.
Hi friends. I saw this short today and thought I should share it. I really enjoyed how it played with depth of field. It’s cute and doesn’t meander too much like animated shorts can often do.