When one of the great directors of a generation announces their next project, the film world listens. It is rare, however, for said announcement to be puzzling. Martin Scorsese is creating his treatise on faith in Silence? Of course he is. Kathryn Bigelow is making the true story of the Detroit riots? Sure, why not? Paul Thomas Anderson’s next untitled film starring Daniel Day Lewis is about a dressmaker for the Royal Family? Sounds award worthy. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. And then there’s David Fincher.
As most know, Fincher certainly got off to a rough start as a director. After cutting his teeth on music videos, he was tapped to direct Alien 3. The tales of his struggles on that particular film are legendary at this point, and he has basically disowned the movie and refuses to speak about it. After a three-year hiatus, he returned with Se7en. This success helped launch his career to the next level. He is now seen as one of the best directors available, easily on par with the others previously mentioned. But unlike most top directors, Fincher does not seem to always reach for the brass ring. Instead, he seems to vacillate between premier projects, like The Social Network or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, to more eccentric choices, such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Gone Girl.
Gone Girl may be Fincher’s oddest choice to date. The film, based on the best selling novel by Gillian Flynn, is nowhere near an awards contender or at least not at first glance. Any number of pseudo-negative descriptions have been used to chronicle the details of the book; trashy, over-the-top, a beach read, the list goes on and on. Given the stunning sales of Gone Girl, a film adaptation was inevitable. But to be directed by the creator of two films that arguably were the best of their respective years, in Zodiac and The Social Network? Very unlikely.