Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fincher Returns to Oscar Prospects with the Compelling "Gone Girl" Trailer

Ben Affleck
It may only be April, but that doesn't mean that we can't look forward to what the Fall season will provide. With an exceptional time in films right now with NoahJoe and Under the Skin currently giving plenty to talk about, it would seem like the Oscar race has some early threats. However, for those that take last year's marginal selection as a sign of fate, then we haven't even begun. With all of this said, director David Fincher manages to hit the scene early with the first official trailer for his latest film Gone Girl, which opens in October. The results are immediately striking in true Fincher form and poses the question of what's really going to happen next.

For those that are unaware, Fincher is one of my favorites not only because his films are aesthetically pleasing to me, but because of how he treats the process. One can simply go back to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and see what I mean. In what is a traditional format, there is the marketing that begins with the teaser trailer and evolves from there. However, much like his adaptation of the Stieg Larsson classic novel, it began as a cryptic set of images over Karen O's version of Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song." It opened up questions that were only continually raised higher by the still impenetrable genius that was the Mouth Taped Shut Tumblr marketing. There is only hope that Gone Girl follows in the same field, as Fincher's biggest success is generating interest in new projects by challenging the viewer.

One of his biggest triumphs is the ability to turn teasers into pieces of art that are immediately iconic. With this said, Gone Girl has finally hit the scene. As one of my most anticipated films of 2014, I eagerly awaited the footage and was met with some sense of disappointment. Where the first trailers for The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo boomed with personality, this felt mundane and simple. The imagery itself was striking, but there was something about the song choice's calming romanticism that didn't help things to click. There's enough visuals there to intrigue, but Fincher's marketing campaign is going to have to wow me in order to capture the same passion.

Here's the trailer:

In true Fincher fashion, it looks very good visually. There's still something about the song selection that undermines it. I cannot quite figure out what, but it feels a little hackneyed. 

Here's the plot synopsis according to IMDb:
"On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, 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?"
In a sense, it does sound like a logical next step to someone who made The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Zodiac. Murder mysteries are in Fincher's wheelhouse. In fact, I am intrigued more by the plot synopsis than the footage. I am even intrigued by the fact that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are yet again returning to do the soundtrack work. There's a lot of strong potential in this film that feels more compelling than the trailer. 

I am also willing to bet that this is one of the first films during this Oscar season that I will call a strong contender. Considering that Fincher has been on a hot streak with nominations since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button landed him in the Best Picture race. Every film since has landed a few nominations and has even had the consistent Best Editing trophy for each of them. To say the least, Fincher's gift as a filmmaker is taking modern day life and adding technical aspects in order to enhance visuals. Anyone who buys the DVD's of his films will recognize his passion for craft. That is a strong reason to believe that this film will be all over the technical fields, even if it doesn't look that flashy with its effects. That is the director's strengths.

The question that has yet to be seen is if Ben Affleck is going to be a serious Best Actor contender. It is hard to predict whom all of the potential nominees are, but much like his past three films, Fincher does have a penchant for landing some acting nominations. Also, Affleck is coming off of his Best Picture winner Argo. It is true that the film didn't actually get Ben Affleck a Best Director or Best Actor nomination, but it does raise his profile and chances for a nomination with this. Yes, I predicted this would be the case with To the Wonder, which fizzled out, but this film is clearly being marketed to come out at the reasonable time for proper consideration.

I will decide to hold off any other thoughts until the season closer approaches. Even if the trailer doesn't entirely compel me to see it, I am a Fincher fanatic and support most anything that he does. At least the film's presentation looks compelling, let's just say that. However, I am more excited to see if he does a marketing campaign that is at all as fun as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Say what you will about that film, but unless you were getting daily updates from the Mouth Taped Shut Tumblr, then you don't entirely understand the genius of this man's marketing team.

Will Gone Girl sweep the Oscar nominations? Is Ben Affleck capable of being nominated? Does the song in the trailer underwhelm your interest?

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