Gone Girl

Gone_Girl_PosterMind tricks. Mind games. Mysteries. This movie’s going to trap you in its maze. And this is my kind of movie.

An adaptation of the 2012 book of the same name, Gone Girl is about the disappearance of Amy Dunne (played by Rosamund Pike), a seemingly successful writer even as a child. Her husband, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), a journalist who has lost his job, is the primary suspect after she went missing. What happened to Amy? What did Nick do? Did he kill her? These are the questions that film will make you ask during its first part. The media frenzy ensues; the police work does its dues; and the story about Nick and Amy’s convulated love, complicated relationship and difficult marriage start to unfold.

Rosamund Pike, an actress whom I have heard a lot of times before but never made a mark on me, is a big revelation here as the titular character. If she’s been constantly overlooked before, watch out for her after she gets nominated and given accolades for this film. Clearly, she’s a force to reckon with. She’s able to embody that missing girl… who’s got a lot of secrets.

Ben Affleck impresses as Nick Dunne, the husband of the missing girl. It is really a wonder why he acted differently when his character’s wife started to go missing… until you learn his character’s story and hers. You will not root for him because you will hate him. But you will try to understand where he’s coming from. And that will make you like him. And hate him again for trying to do not the good thing but the right thing in the end. And nothing seems to be more complicated than that. Nick’s interview in a local TV show highlights the best of Affleck’s abilities in the movie: he made himself admit his mistakes as bait for his missing wife. His admission exposed what his character really is but the circumstance behind the camera is telling otherwise. That ability to embody the complexity of his character is what makes Affleck so great here.

David Fincher is a master of suspense. I liked The Social Network because of the thrilling sensation behind its smartness. I liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because of its breath-taking scenes and very memorable characters. But I loved Gone Girl. Just like my favorite Fincher movie, Fight Club, this movie is exhilaratingly good and fashionably intelligent. The characters are going to take you deep into their story.  Gone Girl is going to make you feel. More importantly, it is going to make you think. It is going to make you grasp for reasons why certain situations happen, how people behave and why some relationships have to end. The maze I was talking about a while ago would trap you. But it will eventually lead you the way out with satisfying answers.

The editing done in Gone Girl is slick and smooth. I love how the transpositions of the scenes are done: having Nick’s perspective of the story alternate with that of Amy’s during the first part. When everything in the story is exposed, the perspectives shifted to the reality. And the way these two stories are woven together is impressively good. Towards the last part of the movie, the suspense is kept at a level wherein you won’t be exhausted that much, just enough for you to still be exhausted on what’s about to come up next.

Perfectly casted (from the leads down to the very small supporting roles), brilliantly directed and beautifully filmed with notches of great sound and musical score, this movie deserves a perfect rating.

Gone Girl’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 5 out of 5

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Godzilla

Godzilla_(2014)_posterHighly intense and fast-paced, Godzilla is a great remake of the movie about the god of monsters.

I missed watching monster movies and watching Godzilla made me feel so good I could watch it again anytime soon. In comparison with another early summer flick, Godzilla was more enjoyable than Spider-Man. When suspense in this film hit really hard after some time, it just kept on growing and growing. There were moments when the suspense was too high and couldn’t have gone any higher, but thanks to the great directing by Gareth Edwards and editing by Bob Ducsay, the scenes ably shift into essential quiet moments to pacify the high tension. People would have experienced a heart attack if this wasn’t done. Haha.

The different settings the movie had shown were so intricately designed one would know they’ve been worked on meticulously. I was awed on how they were able to do the scenes, with or without the monstrous creatures, into something of a great spectacle.

The movie is filled with action scenes: monster-to-monster battles, monsters destroying cities, humans defending against the creatures, humans evacuating but are caught on the monsters’ wrath, among others, that is why action fans (like me) would find Godzilla a great movie to watch. Meanwhile, the special effects and sound departments should be proud of what they have made. The screen sizzled with awesome visuals and trembled with great sound making the movie more realistic. Scenes in the San Francisco bridge, along Nevada railroad and in San Francisco’s Chinatown were real standouts; action movie directors should have taken notes. These great directing, stunning special and sound effects plus the whole lot of non-stop action bode well for this type of flick.

The senior actors may have dominated in the movie but the younger ones held on their own. Bryan Cranston, best known as Walter White in the television series Breaking Bad, was outstanding as Joe Brody, a nuclear physicist who dedicated a big part of his life in unraveling the mystery of the disaster that brought down the nuclear power plant he’s working on  in Japan. I didn’t see Walter White but the character he’s portraying with the way he carried out his scenes. Ken Watanabe, meanwhile, looked like he’s clueless or confused most of the time, but it worked to define his character as Dr. Shiro Serizawa, a lead scientist working for Monarch, a secret organization that is tasked to keep true reasons of disasters in nuclear power plants a secret and protect the world from monsters like Godzilla. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as the son of  Joe Brody, was successful in unraveling the mystery his father was working on. Even though he moved along with the military to fight the monsters wreaking havoc on Earth, he’s able to carry the movie on his shoulders as the key character in resolving the conflict in the movie.

A lot of things happened in the movie’s two-hour screen time and yet it seemed like it wasn’t that long. I felt great suspense  in those two hours and the quiet moments mentioned before served as much-needed breathers in this action-packed movie. Some people might find the beginning arc of the story long as Godzilla wasn’t featured until after an hour or so but I think that was needed to keep it more interesting. Moreover, other people might find the ending as an abrupt conclusion of the story but for me, it’s as good as it gets. The suspense was so high during the entire final scenes and what’s a better way to end it but to cut it short and sweet?

Godzilla’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4.5 out of 5