Gone Girl


Viewed – 07 October 2014  Cinema

I wasn’t at first that fussed about this adaptation of the best selling novel, as I’m not the biggest Ben Affleck fan and usually any surrounding hype means I’ll generally not rush out to see.  Then I read a review and discovered one of my favourite directors was at the helm.namely David Fincher.  Forgiving his somewhat disappointing effort with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, generally Mr Fincher not put a foot wrong, with Fight Club and Seven being firm favourites.

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Ben plays a regular blue-collar guy who one morning arrives home to discover his beautiful wife (Rosamund Pike) has vanished, leaving in her wake evidence of a struggle.  Before long a media-circus surrounds her disappearance and Ben has to go on TV to seek out help in finding her, whilst all the time the public and the news scrutinize his every move.  Fincher’s expertise with a complex and investigation-heavy narrative makes this instantly absorbing and I was really pulled into the plight of Ben, his sister and the media attention.  Questions are raised and clues are discovered and like me you’ll have your own theories as the story progresses – but with the weight of the novel behind it, there’s more to this baby than meets the eye.  Affleck is very good in one of his more multi-layered roles and proved a lot more convincing than I’ve seen from him for a while.  Rosamund Pike is also first rate, even in flash back; beautiful, sexy and suitably vulnerable.

Towards the end some revelations seemed a tad rushed and there was a weird vibe to the final act that felt hard to roll with – was I meant to be amused or disturbed?  Also that ending left me with more questions than answers … probably not helped by some of the book’s event’s being glossed over (the stalker, the parents…).  However this remains a brilliantly acted and at times very powerful thriller with Fincher (helped immeasurably by Trent Reznor’s creepy score) very much back on form.

Verdict:  4 /5

Jack Reacher


Viewed – 28 May 2013  Blu-ray

Based on the novels by best-selling author Lee Child, this intelligent and thrilling movie casts Tom Cruise as the eponymous former Military Police Officer turned drifter who gets involved in a mystery surrounding a shooting incident in Chicago.  Befriending a lawyer (Rosamund Pike) charged with defending the man accused of the murder of 5 innocent people, Reacher is soon the target of a ruthless organisation.

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Directed confidently and with no end of style by Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of the Gun) and along with good chemistry between Cruise and Pike, this proved very entertaining.  Villainous fodder was mostly clichéd but for Werner Herzog’s very creepy turn, and at times tough-talking Cruise proved slightly unconvincing considering his rather ageing, out-of-shape appearance.  Thankfully a killer car chase, a very sexy Rosamund Pike and a nice twisty-turny plot peppered with sharp dialogue, meant such short comings were easy to overlook.  A cameo by screen legend Robert Duvall was also a lot of fun.

Yet I couldn’t ignore the feeling the material seemed beneath an actor of Cruise’s caliber, often imagining someone like Tom Berringer in the role.  Also from the off, where this one was going was fairly predictable – but the journey there was at least well acted, exciting in parts and looked the business throughout.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

Surrogates


Viewed – 27 November 2011  Online rental

Bruce Willis seems to be becoming less the A-list movie star he was, and more  the next Nicholas Cage, turning his hand to pretty much anything that’s offered him.  Which is a shame, as this run-of-the-mill sci-fi thriller really is beneath his talents.  He plays a Cop living in a society where everyone experiences their lives through robot ‘surrogates’, never leaving the house, never getting ill, and strapped into a machine.  With a shady company behind the robots, and someone killing off robots and inadvertently killing their human counterparts, it’s up to Willis to break free from his isolated existence, and figure out what’s gone wrong.

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