CAMERA AND SPACE
That is the way of the world that the stories are being conventionally told through the spectacle of its characters: personal background, senses, and emotions, an haviour. David Fincher tends to enlarge the established manner of informing a scene with living beings who interact. The director has proved himself to be largely successful in transforming a withdrawn viewer into a partaker appreciating oneself just a few steps next to a storyteller or the principal characters. As the character and the protagonist, in particular, are to be regarded as the principal element of drama and an emotional litmus paper for the audience, it should come as no surprise that DAVID FINCHER does not take his camera off his active personage. With a limited supersede of camera angles, every perspective (thus the elements of the scene and its interplay) in the ‘Gone Girl’ is handpicked. The sophisticated number of takes, David Fincher is known for, provides a means to pick up the superfine perspective of onlooking the character, who would make sense of the sequence with his or her own reaction and facial expression.
Following the opening scene with Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck’s voice over, a succession of short takes of the heartland township in Missouri onset the narration. As will become clear later, the desolated streets in the prologue bring to light something greater than depicting brightening hours for deers and raccoons. A complete antithesis to a noisy and very much alive New York, the town is being incubated into the outcomes of the financial crisis and closure of local works. This succession of still shots gives way to a sequence with a principal character: Nick confusedly turns to look at the deserted vicinity. Each of the three perspectives in this sequence does take an eye from the protagonist from the angles as if the neighbor or a bypasser on the road may do.
In the course of a scene, when Nick and Amy encounter for the very first time, the camera focuses primarily on two leading figures. More specifically the sequence examines Amy’s successive response to the party and its on-goers and later to Nick. The camera acts as a detached outside observer, a viewer: one might find himself close enough to the twosome to hear saying and grasping mutual respondence. Amy is taking sophisticated advantage of her well-oiled disdain toward the other people up to the point she is intrigued with a guy from Missouri, who takes the gage of the world with a smile on his face. Outside of short comments on some men in the room, we keep an eye open for Amy and Nick all the way the camera is bringing the two closer. At the moment Amy finds a position with her back to the wall, the perspective focuses on her emotions, as it later emerged, dissimulate way more than the made words from the notebook.
Another illustration of David Fincher’s tendency to prioritize the respondency of his characters may be found in numerous scenes with a TV set. A close-up of Nick’s face in the airport when he catches the deformed image of his relations with her sister. Every single reaction of Amy toward the TV stories regarding Nick. Every first dialogue of the ‘Gone Girl’ whether it occurs between Nick and Amy or Nick and Tanner or Nick and Tommy, Nick and Rhonda, Amy and Desi: a shot from different camera angles, yet with an accent on the respondency of the partners in conversation. The camera focuses primarily on the dialogue of the two and by no means reprioritizes the surrounding. Attendees of a bar, passengers in the airport, the volunteers, the assistants of a TV presenter: everyone, who supports no dramatic message to the story are fated to perform as no more than a blurred actless background.
Once placing such vital concern to the perspective of every single take, the ‘Gone Girl’ in some way animates the sequence with the motion of both the characters and the camera. David Fincher tends to contribute A MOVEMENT OF THE CAMERA IF ONLY ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IS MOVING. Taking a closer look at every scene with Amy and Nick, the viewing point all but always works one way along with the characters. The camera outlook follows Nick and Amy to the cozy alley next to a bakery at the same pace as the actors do. In another late sequence, the looking point is being shifted to the right all while Amy crosses the room next to Nick, who fixed himself in front of the TV. The dogmatically fixated camera follows the footsteps of the intense arguing between Nick and Marybeth across the bank of the river. The viewer bears a disturbing company to two detectives across the abandoned shopping center to the very moment they take a stop. The accent of the scene steadily makes Nick and Amy closer in a theatricalized scene of a reunion in front of the house.
The restricted camera movement in the careful following of the characters with the same pace as them allows the ‘Gone Girl’ (as well as the other pieces of art by Fincher) to get along the narration with a modest scale of the points of view. There is no background cause to interfere with the cohesive accent on the principal character as the camera used to tail after his movements and even emotions. Relatedly, Fincher does not tend to implicate the motion in a situation when the first violin is to be given to perspective. In a breathtaking sequence of Desi’s death, when sexual performance gives way to the agony of death, the camera renders the way more than merely a master shot. Upon a close examination, the high- and long-angle shots mirror the line of sights of the characters themselves. Amy’s low perspective a moment prior to the moment she cutthroats Desi or his high perspective over the unexpected murderer.
Another essential hallmark in unlocking Amy and Nick is to be appreciated in SPACE AND LOCATION. The greatest proportion of Nick’s sequences are outplayed within the houses of his mother, father, and sister. The large empty spaces and no lack of rooms (the one for a cat) lay emphasis on disunity and segregation of both characters, notedly on the back of disputes over parenthood. In a growing proportion of public censure, Nick in large part shelters himself in a large depersonalized house as if in a cave. The later ‘notebook’ retrospectives of Amy’s altered actuality depict the once loving partners now evading each other. Nick takes advantage of the gloomy and pockety houses of his Father and Sister to seclude himself with a young girlfriend. In a scene within the abandoned shopping mall, the two detectives are shown as lost and misplaced in contrast to an absorptive open space next to people, who hide from the light as insects. As a counterbalance to this sequence, Amy enjoys the beams of warm sunlight and landscapes once she manages her escapade toward the sun lounger at the swimming-pool.
INTO THE DARKNESS
As early as in the opening sequence with Missouri heartlands, it’s becoming apparent that the color and thus the emotional profile of the ‘Gone Girl’ would NOT GRAVITATE TO A HIGH CONTRAST OF BLACK AND WHITE or any other hues. In all but every given scene, David Fincher addresses the edges of ‘hyper naturalism’. The rays of the sun are not to be given enough freedom of cinematic carte blanche in any of the daylight scenes. An illustration of such ‘suppression of sunlight,’ one should regard a sequence with Amy driving her new car after the vanishing: her elevated mood and her hair streaming in the breeze is not to be accentuated with direct rays of the sun. Later on, the character of Rosamund Pike passes her time at the swimming pool, yet the viewer may regard the scene as cloudy, while it is not. In narrow terms, Fincher uses sunlight as nothing more than a marker of the time of the day.
Particular reference should be made of the magic of lightning in the ‘Gone Girl’, notedly the hand lights and photo flashes in the dark. In again cited scene inside the abandoned shopping-mall, Rhonda and her workmate get through space with the cold-colored hand lights. Therewith, even the front lighting in Fincher’s mind neglects the conventional disability glare of whiteness. Another illustration may be regarded in a sequence of revealing Amy’s diary at the basement: the police flashlights provide no more than a glimpse of the surroundings. In a scene when Nick runs across the grassy plot to hide from the condemning chase, the visual flood of the photo flashes provide no blinding effect, rather MIXING THE COLD WHITE TONE WITH THE NIGHT. In summarizing the above, the white color may be interpreted as yellowish in day scenes as well as bluish in the darkness.
The ‘Gone Girl’ constitutes no exception to the conformist portraiture of David Fincher as the master of ‘dark’ and ‘obscure’. This can be proved as follows that the daytime scenes in the ‘Gone Girl’ do not overabound with a sun warmth, though the larger half of the scenes reap benefits from the nighttime in CONFINED SPACE WITH POOR LIGHTNING. For all that the movie saves its audience the effort of straining one’s eyes to scrutinize the details. In defiance to a subdued white light (which mimicrate the surroundings) and the ‘realistic contrast ratio’, every element of the composition is to be clearly differentiated. So much as shadows of the poorly lighted objects can be still naturally distinguished in regard to a dosed light. In a scene with Nick and Amy discussing the loss of their jobs, the one can easily differentiate the faces and emotions, the cloth, a painting on the wall and a doubler, a door and window: all these while the accent of the scene is paid to an interaction of two dramatic characters.
As the story unwinds, it’s now becoming apparent that the ‘DARKNESS’, which has been conventionally attributed to David Fincher, answers for more than just the suspense-like sense of the scene. This ‘VISUAL DARKNESS’ is being relied on as a complementary accent on the behavior and facial expressions of the characters, Amy and Nick in particular. In a more comprehensive sense, the ‘darkness’ steps forward as a means of visual understatement, complementing the aura of mysteriousness, notedly common for a ‘mystery’ genre. In a scene of Desi’s agony and death, the muted light cultivates the climax of the scene, for some time hiding the matter of Amy’s doing and ‘KEEPING THE AUDIENCE IN THE SHADE’.
The movie fosters a tendency to deilluminate the characters, their faces notably in selected scenes or even complete sequences. In contrast to most of the modern premieres with high contrast ratio and the obsessive presence of the actors in a scene, the ‘Gone Girl’ tends to keep its characters mainly ‘in the shade’. Such a model redoubles the audiences’ attention to the personages as it demands absorbed attention to reveal their intentions beyond the facial expression. The director encourages the viewer TO STAY FOCUSED ON THE SELECTED INFORMATION, frames in the narration. The movie thus cultivates the experience of doubleness and the unspoken words: an impetus to force the audience to scrutinize Amy and Nick. The practice of not exposing half of a face and keeping it in the shade makes us insinuate that the personage has some skeletons in the cupboard to hide beyond one’s smile or indifference. Among other matters, the clothes, from the nightgown to blooded underwear and from a t-shirt to a jacket, may complement the emotional saturation of particular scenes.
As the story masterfully keeps its audience in a shade up to the 67th minute, NICK DUNNE is being given the role of a premiere violin within this entering half. As early as in the scene after the prologue, a thoughtful character looks into a dilemma on his further actions inside the house. Later it would become apparent that Nick had a pre-planned agenda on breaking up with his wife that very morning instead of the supposed gruesome murder of Amy Dunne. This short yet vitally important sequence serves as an opening move in a great cinematic chess-game known as crime fiction. Amy’s falsified notebook was made to depict Nick as a rude and self-sheltered husband. The greatest proportion of the scenes with Nick within this first 66 minutes examines the character in closed poorly illuminated premises with a part of his face in the shade, as though cultivating the image of a murderer. The reverse is true when the audience is given a clue to the story and Amy’s sophisticated mind. Nick mostly steps out of the shade and the accent of the narration is being shifted to his wife. Up to an appropriate point, such a ‘shaded’ presentation of Nick puts him in the perspective of the whole story as a leading personage. Apart from Nick and Amy, Margo used to live in a secluded and comfortless house with poor illumination as we know scarcely anything about her unless casual jokes in a bar and the ate of her relatives.
It’s not likely for the majority of the viewers to grasp Rosamund Pike’s character as an imperious puppet-master, the one who is capable of a calculated murder, frauding the law, and slandering from the very beginning of the story. Amy has used to exaggerated audience attention since her early childhood: the privilege once faded and shifted with a barren marriage and a withering life in Missouri. The better part of the scenes with Amy showcases her face fully illuminated and open, particularly regarding the retrospectives from the made notebook, which depict the actuality as she orchestrates. In the aftermath of Amy’s and Nick’s reunion, the light evades Amy Dunne as if to contextualize her crimes and essentiality. In a stipulated contrast to the scenes from the notebook, now it is Nick who hides from his wife being not ready to share a bed with Amy.
COLD BLUE WARM YELLOW
Just as Nick Dunne dares to go the length of speaking up his truth inside the white rotunda, every inch of his pass walking from ‘The BAR’ bar to a point of destination is being complemented with a warm gradation of orange. The yellowish street lights, candles with warm flames in the hands of hundreds of those involved, and even the yellowish background lighting of the location. Nick’s affirmation of being not implicated in Amy’s vanishing and her parents behind his back: all these inspire credibility of his words. A few minutes later, just as Noelle Hawthorne insulted Nick’s integrity, the color tonality is being dramatically alternated to violate the recent warm idyll with cold bluish photo flashes giving chase after Nick to wedge him into a police car. As exemplified in this scene, David Fincher has taught himself TO LOOK BEYOND THE CONVENTIONAL PERCEPTION OF THE COLOR TEMPERATURE and chroma values to take advantage of it for the purpose of a selected emotional background.
A scene of Amy delighting in the warm sun rays next to a swimming pool gives way to Nick in his jacket as if he mirrors the restricted cold palette of the office building, the one to find a criminal defense lawyer. The given unconcern and situation awareness of one principal character is being set against the frustration and vulnerability of the opponent. ‘Gone Girl’ spoils the audience with warm tones of the nighttime in one instance to underline the desolation and coldness on the other selected occasion. In the opening sequence the heartland town in Missouri, particularly Nick’s walk toward his sidewalk press is being represented in exceedingly COLD BLUES. David Fincher is known for his ‘antipathy’ toward the Magento gradation and his fixation on the green, the cold hues of blue and sophisticated gradations of yellow and orange. Therewith, each occurrence of using one or another color palette in a movie is being shaped with an appropriate emotional background of the characters.
Another instance of sophisticated color scheme is to be disclosed in the very beginning of the story in a bar scene with Nick’s utopic mindset and Margo’s thoughtful attention. Taking into consideration the ‘LIFE’ title, the dimmed colors of this board game mirror Nick Dunne’s disinterested life. Since having no guts to reshape his life and to break with his abhorrent wife, to switch a career, every single day Nick turns a wheel of his presence in this world and NOTHING BRINGS HIM DELIGHT. In another scene when Amy observes her fading husband with a beer and video games, the very complexion of her face seems lifeless and pale: the overall contrast of the scene accents the agonizing actuality of their relations and desolation within one home.
A subsequent indicative instance of ingeniousness in using the color palette and emotional contradictions could be found in a breathtaking scene of Desi’s death. The very mansion, a place Desi appreciates as his home and a place with a loving woman beside him, is depicted well-cared-for and manicured, even sterile, thus accenting the one-way nature of their relations with Amy. Desi wears a polished white shirt with Amy in her white sterile dress and underwear as well as white bedsheets dominate the room. In the very moment when the principal character cutthroats her naive gallant, the UNEXPECTED CONTRAST BETWEEN WHITE AND A DRAMATIC DARK-RED breaks into a scene. The scenery of murder as if it was staged by Alfred Hitchcock, acts as a sophisticated love scene, particularly when Amy turns Desi upside down and saddles him up. The warm yellow lighting of the scene encolours the blood with a dark fearful hue and the blooded nightie would later play its role in a theatricalized reunion of the two.