Gone Girl: Features

In order to understand the genre of ‘Thriller’ more thoroughly, I have decided to watch some well known films associated by this genre. Rather than write a review of the film, I am going to make a note of the various features used; this, for me, will be much more useful as I can refer back to this and incorporate the features found into my own film opening. Normally, I am not the hugest fan of this genre as I am scared fairly easily. However, I feel as though it is important for me to watch films from this genre and learn from them how to make our film opening more believable and professional. Gone Girl was released in 2014 and is categorised by a sub category of thriller, a psychological thriller. The film was directed by David Fincher and written by Gillian Flynn. Here is the trailer for Gone Girl…

  • The first thing that I noticed about Gone Girl was the dimly lit, cold colour palette. The colour palette itself is focused around colours such as blues and purples. These are colours often associated with negativity and sadness; this arguably sets the tone of the film as the audience are made to feel uncomfortable. It could also be foreboding events yet to come…
  • The length of shots are fairly short; this allows there to be more shots which is therefore resulting in a faster pace of the film. The pace of the shots could be matching a fast heart beat; this also makes the audience feel uncomfort as the heart beat increases as you feel fear.
  • During the first minute of the film, a contrast between narrative and picture is used in order to create a sense of discomfort and fear from the very beginning. The first thing that the audience hear are the words… “When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. Picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brains, trying to get answers”. This disturbing narrative plays over the top of a scene of a couple in bed, calmly holding one another in their arms. This shot shows the vulnerability of the main character whilst the disturbing narrative played over the top suggests that something horrible is going to happen. Nick is shown to be stroking Amy’s head, his hand on her skull also suggests that he holds the control in the relationship and displays some sort of disturbing fantasy that he imagines, suggesting that there is something wrong with him psychologically. The scene then fades to black as the words “What have we done to each other” are spoken. This forebodes the rest of the film and leaves the audience with questions unanswered, feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
  • The structure of Gone Girl is fairly circular; this structure portrays the people within the film as they are trapped in this ongoing cycle. It could also represent that the characters are trapped within the expectations and ‘rules’ of society. The idea of being trapped also adds a sense of discomfort and terror.
  • The film plays on expected stereotypes and shows the true character of the people trapped under this stereotype. For example, the stereotypical blonde, pretty, fragile character (Amy), hides a dark personality under the expectations of society.
  • The majority of the film is filmed in dim light, if not then with a back light; this lighting creates a mysterious tone but could also represent the darkness that the characters have within them. The dark tones and lack of light adds discomfort as things always seem to be more cunning and unexpected when displayed this way.
  • The two characters, Amy and Dunne, have very different personalities. They seem to be binary opposites but are held together by the judgement of society as their relationship is fairly public. This adds discomfort as the two people are harming themselves and one another in order to keep up a reputation and the audience see how this pans out.
  • The main two characters in the film wear monochrome coloured clothing throughout. They are only seen to be wearing greys, blacks and whites. Not only does this match the colour palette of the film, but it also displays the emotions of the characters. It could also be argued that the clothes act as a barrier and so the plain and simple colours represent the characters trying to put across a ‘normal’ personality and life in society whilst they hid their true selfs.
  • The non diegetic sound throughout the film has been used to create an uncomfortable effect upon the audience. For example, the music played throughout the opening is fairly eery. The simple and somewhat whiny soundtrack matches the disturbing narration and portrays the discomfort felt by those in the film to those watching.
  • Diegetic sounds such as the expected sounds of nature, for example the cawing of a blackbird, are emphasised and exaggerated. This gives the film an eery tone and creates tension as it often feels as though something is going to happen.
  • The location of the film seems to be fairly run down and somewhat depressive. The run down buildings could represent the emotions of the characters and also creates a tense tone.

I did not expect to enjoy watching Gone Girl as often movies such as these scare me too much. However, I have surprised myself and enjoyed every second of the film. The various ways to look at the storyline have interested me and I plan to watch the film again sometime in order to look at it from a different perspective in order to see how this changes the film. The various features that I noted down from the film will help me when I am creating my own two minute opening as hopefully, it will seem much more professional by using these.

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