Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
"I'm not saying the film is genuinely clever throughout (though it is always fiendishly manipulative) or that every twist is defensible (a few are stupid). I'm saying that Gone Girl is what it is, that it knows what it is, and that it works. You know how well it's working when you hear how audiences laugh at it, and with it. Their laughter evolves as the film does. They laugh tentatively at first, then with an enthusiasm that gives way to a full-throated, 'I endorse this madness!' gusto during the final half-hour, when the story spirals into DePalma-style expressionism and the picture becomes a maelstrom of blood, tears and other bodily fluids. There are allusions to the O.J. Simpson case, Macbeth and Medea, and the ending is less an ending than a punchline that's all the more amusing for feeling so deflated."
Sasha Stone, Awards Daily
"A good comparison of Gone Girl is how Stephen King’s work has been adapted over the years. If you read The Shining you will discover an entirely different story in every possible way than what [Stanley] Kubrick put on screen, much to King’s own personal disappointment. But Kubrick made it cinema where it was horror fiction before (I think literature but hey, that’s me). Kubrick made it funny. It wasn’t funny. It was nowhere near funny. The Shining, as written by Stephen King is terrifying. Wendy is being hunted by her haunted husband and Danny has a power that makes the Overlook want to absorb him for it. Kubrick’s version did not delight critics in the least bit, and it certainly pissed off a lot of King fans. But Kubrick’s film is a cinematic masterpiece because it is about CINEMA. It’s about the color red. It’s about Jack Nicholson’s wildly off the wall performance. It’s that giant hotel swallowing up the skinny Wendy and tiny Danny. It’s about tracking shots and it’s about evoking terror. It’s about showing, not telling.
"When Brian De Palma made King’s wonderful first book, Carrie, it was a similar kind of transformation. It was kind of funny. It is different from the book in so many ways – for one thing, in the film Carrie is not repulsive. She is pretty, though freaky as Sissy Spacek realized her. This is what we talk about when we talk about the language of cinema – showing an audience a story that is meant to give you an experience over a two hour period sitting in a dark theater – it is not about the isolated wonder of making a book come alive in your imagination. Even films like the Shawshank Redemption or Stand by Me or Misery or Dolores Claiborne completely alter what was written on the page. They have to. They’re movies, not books. Vive la difference.
"It is therefore very telling how different people interpret Amy in Fincher’s film. Here is a director like Kubrick or De Palma who has taken a familiar book with familiar characters and found a new way to tell that story using the language of cinema, not the language of fiction. He found in Gillian Flynn a writer who understands both. So that this attempt to find the goodness in Amy, or to want to see one’s own definition of a “cool girl” is to want the movie you made in you head rather than the one these artist’s rendered. People seem so urgent about making Amy somehow good. Perhaps, while reading the book, they were able to remake Amy as a more palatable person. But Amy, fully fleshed out on screen, is the collaboration of an actress, a director and a writer who found this cinematic Amy, quite different from the Amy as written on the page."
Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"Enter a celebrity lawyer named Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry), as well as tabloid journalists loosely modeled on Nancy Grace (Missi Pyle) and Barbara Walters (Sela Ward). Not exactly biting satire or social commentary. Fincher is on more solid ground with trashy thrills — including an artfully staged (and gory) murder reminiscent of Brian De Palma."
Andrew Parker, Dork Shelf
"Following a recent string of prestigious films that established filmmaker David Fincher as someone who always gets talked about during awards season whenever he makes a film (and a side trip to direct the English language remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), he has seemingly returned to his gleefully nasty, more culturally misanthropic roots with Gone Girl. It’s an absolute blast to watch blending sly wit, campy theatricality, perfect casting, and Fincher’s uniquely controlled style of direction. People who yearned for the day where Fincher would make another film like Fight Club or The Game have gotten their wish. Gone Girl is the best Brian De Palma film that Brian De Palma never made."
Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
"It may not be fair to judge a movie by who didn’t direct it, but watching David Fincher’s meticulous, sterile adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s nasty pulp novel Gone Girl made me wish that someone with a little less restraint were behind the camera.
"We’ll never find out what Brian De Palma’s or Oliver Stone’s or Eli Roth’s Gone Girl would have looked like, and it’s not as if Fincher does a bad job with the material, aided by a screenplay from Flynn herself. Indeed, Fincher’s Gone Girl is often riveting, and the movie streamlines some of the novel’s most excessive elements, with brisker pacing (even at nearly two and a half hours) and greater narrative momentum. It’s a solid, sometimes seriously unsettling movie, with a number of very good performances, but it’s still second-tier Fincher, a faithful literary adaptation along the lines of his last film, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, without the larger resonance of movies like Zodiac and The Social Network."
Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"Gone Girl is David Fincher’s Eyes Wide Shut. As Stanley Kubrick did in his final film, Fincher lifts the lid off the black box of marriage. He reveals the core of unredressed resentment, unfulfilled desire, inescapable duplicity, unrelieved anger, unresolved doubts, unrevealed secrets, and relentless self-abnegation on which the life of a couple depends. But Gone Girl goes a step beyond Kubrick’s film, by rooting the action in the particulars of the digital age. The new public realm—the intentional representation of private life in public view and the way that those representations quickly get out of hand—is at the center of Fincher’s movie. And it’s from here that the movie’s modernity, immediacy, and urgency arise.
"Fincher is the exemplary digital artist of the contemporary cinema. For him, the world of modern media is far more than a source of information. It’s a new realm of mind, and it comes with its own myths and symbols, angels and demons. The power of Gone Girl isn’t in its plot alone. Though I started out warning about spoilers, there isn’t much temptation to analyze the movie’s plot in detail. This is no mere avoidance of spoilers; it’s a reflection of the movie itself, in which the plot quickly melts into the ideas that sustain it.
"In its simplest form, Gone Girl is a story of revenge. The marriage of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Elliott Dunne (Rosamund Pike) is a troubled one. The sources of conflict are simple and clear: money difficulties; a sexual cooling-off; unease with the in-laws; Amy’s sacrifice of city life for Nick’s home town in Missouri, where they move so that Nick can care for his ailing mother. But there’s worse: Nick is an adulterer, and has been violent to Amy, not with weapons or fists, but crossing the line nonetheless, breaching her trust and instilling fear with the implicit threat of worse to come. The law doesn’t get involved with adultery, and in this case it doesn’t get involved with assault, either. What’s left is personal vengeance and divine or karmic retribution.
"Nick is no angel, but the revenge that follows seems somewhat disproportionate to his offenses. Fresh from a screening, I mentioned on Twitter that I saw equal measures of misogyny and misandry in the film, and that they join in a 'tender misanthropy.' It takes a jaundiced view of the human condition to judge the institution of marriage on the behavior of its inmates. If Fincher’s view of marriage seems similar to that of Eyes Wide Shut, his view of Nick seems derived from Alfred Hitchcock’s vision of the amiable family man as played by Henry Fonda in The Wrong Man: he’s certainly guilty of something, and it will come out if his life is scrutinized—which it is, when Amy disappears and he’s accused of her murder.
"But the hidden crime would also come out if Nick looked deeply or closely enough at himself—if he subjected himself to the infamous Jimmy Carter standard of candor. (It’s oddly apt that Gone Girl is opening on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.) Ultimately, the evils that are being redressed in Gone Girl aren’t one husband’s indifference or cruelty but all men’s crimes through the ages. What could easily have devolved into a bunny-boiling melodrama turns into the ultimate #YesAllMen drama becomes a version of Medea and The Bacchae dressed in the shopping-mall garb of uneasy and struggling suburbanites. In the course of Nick’s travails—his subjection to televised character assassination, police interrogation, and street harassment—he speaks the movie’s key line, with its Euripidean wink: 'I’m so sick of being picked apart by women.'
"Fincher’s not offering an essentialist view of gender but rather slicing and stretching Nick and Amy at their particular points of sensitivity. What’s gendered isn’t the world at large but the life that Nick and Amy have chosen. And it’s that life, not the biology of gender but their chosen social roles, that erupts with a violent mythological force through the neutrality of the media. With a digital prestidigitator’s swiftness, Fincher keeps the action moving forward even as the real action is happening offscreen—in the past or in the future, in memory or fantasy or fear, somewhere else or even, for that matter, nowhere. (That’s the moral essence of the digital age: people staring at their screens, for whom whatever is in their presence is less important than what is happening somewhere else.) Gone Girl is as much of a revelation and an artifact of digital life as Zodiac, Benjamin Button, and The Social Network.”
Chris Fyvie, The Skinny
"The brilliance of Gone Girl cannot be overstated, nor can it really be elucidated without diluting its many, many pleasures. This is a contradiction, a quandary, of which David Fincher and screenwriter Gillian Flynn (adapting her own bestseller) would no doubt approve. Unspooling from the suspicious disappearance of outwardly icy and unlovable Amy Dunne (Pike), both in flashback, to the beginning of Amy and husband Nick’s (Affleck) relationship, and in the present, as Nick somewhat half-heartedly attempts to recover her, there is something not quite right about everything on screen; a strangeness maintained in no small part by the leads’ mesmerising, layered performances.
A tricksy mystery, an ironic, bat-shit crazy erotic thriller of the type Joe Eszterhas and Brian De Palma in their pomp might think too lurid, and a sharp satire of pervasive tabloid media and the parasitic communal grief it fosters in times of personal crisis, the picture hinges on and delights in its ambiguity. And its artifice; while Fincher and cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth’s frosty, voyeuristic gaze is deliberately incongruous, the excellent, subtle supporting turns from talented TV actors (Dickens, Coon, Harris) and a shameless tack-merchant (Perry) both subvert and compliment the tawdry subject matter. It’s gloriously deep, with a despair at humanity typical of the director's work, but Gone Girl also succeeds purely on its gorgeous, thoroughly entertaining surface. One of Fincher's finest, and certainly his most playful."
7 Films To Watch Before Seeing Gone Girl
Nick N., The Film Stage
(the 7 films chosen by the staff: Basic Instinct, Body Double, Dressed To Kill, Eyes Wide Shut, Psycho, Vertigo, The Vanishing)
"Although I come to you as a man who’s not yet seen Gone Girl, I do consider myself something of a Brian De Palma expert, and knowing what I know about David Fincher’s latest film allows me to say you’ll probably get a bit more out of it if Dressed to Kill and Body Double are experienced beforehand. That this is tiptoeing around spoilers would both acknowledge the need to preserve some surprise and also tip the cap to De Palma, whose immense formal talent can make the bombastic and stupid utterly sublime — a trait one might apply to Fincher himself. Even if you have no desire to check out his 2014 offering, at least allow another director to give you some slick sleaze."
[Discussing why he chose to do The Blue Room] “It was I think a sort of love for a genre and to do a small budget film quickly, a police film, with love as a theme. It is about this sexual attraction that we are all capable of falling into and the fact that those moments you are someone else but maybe you are in fact yourself in those moments and you’re not allowed to live that.”
Added the charming actor who looks a bit like an elf, “You have to restrain that inside you in every day life, the fact that the body just talks at your place and you have to listen to it and that’s, I don’t know…Oh God!” Amalric called out. He just spied famed director Brian De Palma on the other side of the barricades where no one else noticed him.
De Palma came racing over to the red carpet and hugged Amalric, who thanked him for coming.
“The film is not long,” Amalric told the “Dressed to Kill” director. They made plans to meet afterwards at a restaurant around the corner.
After De Palma went inside the theater, Amalric– who played the villain in “The Quantum of Solace” — pretended to bite his fingernails in nervousness.
O'HEHIR: 'THE BLUE ROOM' MAKES FASCINATING EUROPEAN COMPANION PIECE TO 'GONE GIRL'
In his Salon review of The Blue Room, Andrew O'Hehir states that Amalric's film "makes a fascinating European companion piece to David Fincher’s Gone Girl.” O'Hehir adds, "I suppose it’s just coincidence that both movies are premiering at the New York Film Festival and then opening in theaters right away, but it feels like fate. In relative terms, almost nobody will see Amalric’s movie, and that’s too bad: Like Gone Girl, it’s a study of a middle-class marriage in terminal decay that contains both a dreamlike, symbolic level and also a more conventional murder mystery, built around the archetype of the 'dangerous woman.' But this film hews an entirely different path to reach essentially the same destination."
Lynch interviews Cave about the film, and at one point, asks him about a scene in which he watches Brian De Palma's Scarface with his twin boys:
[Lynch] There's a scene in the film where Nick is sitting with his twin sons, eating pizza and watching Scarface. Why that film?
Cave: It was just a film that they'd been on at me to watch. "We want to watch Scarface!" Maybe I'd talked about it or something. And I said, "Well it's got some scenes in it that are pretty heavy, do you think you're all right to watch it?" They said, "Oh, we've already watched the chainsaw scene on YouTube." We wanted to find a film that they hadn't seen, and they have seen a lot of that super violent stuff with me anyway. [My twin sons and I] had a thing we'd do that we'd sit down and watch a film that we shouldn't be watching together. It was a bonding experience.
[Lynch] What other movies do you watch with them?
Cave: Just...violent films. So we all wanted something that could hold them, and Scarface is such an opera -- an exaggerated cartoon of the world. That scene is probably my favorite -- not because it's got kids in it, but it sets up an idea. It's the one moment of Nick Cave supposedly at home, doing an ordinary thing with his kids. But it's not. I'm sitting there, the camera is here, we're looking into the camera -- we're not looking at the TV at all. So there's this sense of being removed from the ordinary, or that the ordinary has been taken away from us and it's something we're not able to reclaim. And that's true.
[Lynch] It's also one of the few scenes where we see you laughing.
Cave: That's just how it ended up. I laugh a lot actually, but you don't laugh a lot when the camera is on. There's a lovely outtake of Kylie and I that says a lot. We're in the car; they haven't started shooting but they're filming. We're talking about something, it's very light, and then they say 'action' and both of us [pantomimes stone face]. It's not that we're trying to portray anything, it's just the effect that it has over you. The claustrophobic, unfunny aspect of being filmed.
"The movie was regarded, at release, as hackwork. Set pieces strung together by multiple writers and directed by a technician, because of the massive massive push behind it at the time. But it functions at such a high level not only as a spy story - full of reversals, nasty violence, huge scope, intimate details, personal stakes, heists, and of course flashy set pieces - but also as a De Palma movie. His themes of surveillance, misinformation, close-up violence, betrayal, visually literalizing narrative complexity, all of them wrapped around the structure of a massive summer blockbuster. The other Mission Impossible movies (all of which I do love in various ways) are Cruise doing Bond, but Mission Impossible is De Palma figuring out how to do his best tricks for the bleachers."
Meanwhile, yesterday, The Sydney Morning Herald's Ben Pobjie posted a mini-review of De Palma's film, which played on TV there last night. "The great thing about Mission: Impossible," writes Pobjie, "is that it simply gallops along, chase after chase, fight after fight, technobabble after brief love scene, the pace never slackening for introspection or boring backstory. Director Brian De Palma knew we didn't need to delve into Hunt's tortured past: we just needed to see Cruise riding bullet trains, being tossed about by explosions, and dangling from a wire to avoid sensors in one of cinema's most definitive secret-agent set-pieces. The film tracks the twisted plot through each reverse, double-cross and red herring, wisely keeping exposition brief and speedy - especially advisable when the story is this ludicrous - and focusing on the gadgets, the bangs and Tom's running-from-bad-guys-stress-face."
As Montgomery tells Harrisson about what viewers can expect series 2 to look like, he refers to such films as Heaven's Gate (for the look of series 1), The Godfather, Inception, Drive, and Scarface. Here's an excerpt:
Basically, Tommy’s empire has grown. You’ll see him moving to the metropolis of London and taking on the big gangsters that run London, so visually, you’re moving much more into bigger spaces, and you’re leaving behind a lot of the dark working-class world. Because they have money, and Tommy is beginning to use that money, he’s buying up houses in London. The world is opening up, it’s becoming much more expansive, and the spaces become bigger.
It becomes much more like a gangster world, the references become much more attuned to The Godfather rather than Heaven’s Gate. I was using Heaven’s Gate as a reference in season 1, [but] in season 2 the references are really to The Godfather. [Tommy’s] office is a total homage to The Godfather. There’s oranges on the table!
There are a lot of [other] references as well. For example, there’s a huge club called The Eden, which is a big metropolitan club, and again I like to reference things, so there’s a lot of little nods, winks – there’s a scorpion design that’s basically from Ryan Gosling’s jacket in Drive. I wanted to turn it into a really big nod to Inception, there’s a lot of gold. There’s a lot of gold within the whole series, actually, and that echoes season 1.
You’ll see loads of [references] that are just peppered through the whole of the look, and I think that’s playful. That was in the first season, ‘cause it was all from a lot of Westerns, Rio Bravo, Deadwood and all the rest.
[Harrisson] How much freedom do you have to do that, mixing in so many different references? Do you just not tell anyone?
I just do it, because it’s there! Steven [Knight]’s writing is so detailed, but allows you still to bring images and references to the party. So I’ve never felt constricted by what we’re doing, because it’s a mythology, it’s not strictly historically – it’s not a historical recreation, it’s very much a mythology.
Also, I’ve always brought a kind of Americana feel, like for example Tommy’s office, there’s a lot of references to Los Angeles there, the shape of certain curves etc. I’ve always tried to bring an Americana kind of sheen to a British gangster story. I think that’s legitimate because it is a myth.
The Garrison pub has been transformed, because [Tommy’s] gone to see London and he’s brought back an idea and done basically a Scarface on it. He’s done a 1980s Brian De Palma Al Pacino Scarface on his own pub, and it’s turned into this huge golden Las Vegas kind of mecca to his ambition, so it’s completely transformed.
[Harrisson] Is that your imprint, or is that implied in the script?
No, it’s implied in the script. He comes back and says, ‘right I’m gonna give Birmingham what I’ve seen in London. I’m gonna give the masses what they want’, which is this glamour. And he’s quite a glamourous individual. And I think also every location and every set is starting to change because he’s got money, so he buys a house from Polly in suburbia, and he’s buying racehorses, and he’s buying fast cars. You see him with this huge amount of money, and where’s that money going to take him? And I’ve always used gold as a symbol [for] his desire and ambition for money and wealth.
Graham Fuller, Screen Daily
"Psycho is a touchstone (as is Body Heat), though Fincher utilises suspense as a smokescreen for social critiquing. As it traces what went wrong in the marriage, Gone Girl simultaneously evolves as a mordant satire of the mediating of domestic violence as mass entertainment."
Michael Nordine, Indiewire
"Fincher likely prides himself on turning coal into diamonds at this point, but Flynn's script can feel so retrograde at times that one wonders whether it might have been better served by a De Palma, Bigelow, or even a Verhoeven — which is to say, a filmmaker less concerned with making the lascivious seem prestigious. (It's doubtful anyone else could have filmed a certain blood-soaked scene with such unsettling verve, however.)"
Xan Brooks, The Guardian
"In the meantime the film keeps changing costumes, covering its tracks. It’s nodding freely to everything from Fatal Attraction, to Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion, to The War of the Roses; all but tripping over itself in its rush to the climax. Thank heavens for Fincher, who keeps the tale so coiled and intense that we are prepared to stick with it, even as it pitches towards outright hysteria. He whips up a bracing, scalding sketch of a marriage in meltdown; a banner-headline study of the domestic hell that we make for each other."
Justin Chang, Variety
"Among other things, “Gone Girl” functions as a wickedly entertaining satire of our scandal-obsessed, trash-TV-addicted media culture; this is a movie as conversant with the tawdry true-crime sagas of Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony as it is with classic thrillers of domestic entrapment like Rebecca, Diabolique, Rosemary’s Baby and Fatal Attraction.”
Jake Wilson, The Sydney Morning Herald
"Thematically, the film can be seen as a sequel to Fincher's Facebook origin story The Social Network, engaging rather more directly with the contemporary reality of social media. Once news of the disappearance goes public, TV pundits and everyday folk are equally quick to take sides – Team Amy or Team Nick? – even as the viewer is made to suspect that both parties have plenty to hide.
"As narrators of the book, Nick and Amy address the reader directly, commenting on the distance between their public and private selves. While Fincher can't replicate this effect on film, he achieves an equivalent kind of irony simply by putting the naturally smarmy Affleck in a role that capitalises on the unbelievability of his good-guy screen persona. Other instances of stunt casting are comparably astute, from Tyler Perry as a purring defence attorney to Neil Patrick Harris as the kind of well-spoken nutcase John Lithgow used to play for Brian De Palma."
David Ehrlich, Badass Digest
"Working from a script by Flynn herself, Gone Girl is a domestic horror show that grows more discomfortingly familiar as it balloons to a national scale. As if Brian De Palma remade Hitchcock’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith and set it inside of the wettest dream that Nancy Grace has ever had, Fincher’s latest is perhaps most remarkable for how it exceeds the sum of its parts."