Alphabet Cinema: “G” is for “Gone Girl” and “Grey’s Anatomy”

My brother wanted me to review Gone Girl (2014) for “G” but it hadn’t been on my Alphabet Cinema list when I first made it. (I’m still surprised he didn’t write a review first.) I’d had this film on my Redbox watch list though, and wanted to watch Oscar-nominated Rosamund Pike (Pride and Prejudice, Jack Reacher) in action.

Ruthlessness lies in those eyes.

So, because of her stellar skill and the movie’s success in general, I’m adding this blurp about Gone Girl, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn of the same title.

Watch it. (Maybe not with your significant other, if you’re having tiffs.)

It is a brutal analysis on marriage and the two partners involved therein. The critique is wrapped inside a media smorgasbord topped with suspected murder, one terrifyingly cunning wife, and the chance to strip all pretenses of marital bliss. It’s the type of shitstorm that either makes you, or breaks you.

The messages of this film are as ruthless as the main female lead, Amy Dunne; its light, yet uneasy soundtrack, just as two-faced. If you watch Gone Girl for anything, watch it for how Pike wields this role. She inspires both disgust and admiration. Our ASV Editor-in-Chief Philip described it best with our ASV Awards, “You want to hate her, you have to hate her, but you can’t, because you admire her, and, after seeing the things she does in the movie, you can’t help but wonder: would anyone do those things for you?”

Sorry, Ben Affleck (from Good Will Hunting and Pearl Harbor, who played husband Nick Dunne), but although you and your on-screen sis Margo (Carrie Coon from One in a Million, The Leftovers) did good work, Pike outshone you both. Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, The Social Network) clearly knew what he was doing. I’m excited to see what project he’s eyeing next.

Rating: The first act of the film leads the viewer to sympathize with the wife; the subsequent acts shows you just how wrong siding with popular media conclusions is. By the end, well, let’s just say that married life is one complicated union. A

ASV Villainy Rating: While I don’t think Amy Dunne could conquer the world alone, I believe her capable to planning it and persuading enough people to do it for her. Oh yes, most definitely could see that happening. E – Evil Genius

Grey’s Anatomy (2005–ongoing) was my original choice for Alphabet Cinema “G.”

Maybe it was my perception that medical dramas have cluttered TV after 2000, or the fact that TV pilots tend to be dim prototypes of the bulk of its future popularity–whatever the reason, I was already bored a third of the way in. I did recognize Patrick Dempsey (Enchanted) and Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh, so hey, not completely out of the loop.

Grey’s Anatomy has been on air for a decade (with no end in sight?). The show, brain-child of creator Shonda Rhimes details the stressful lives of five surgical interns and of those around them. No, stressful is too calm a word. Chaotic, sleep-deprived surgical hell steeped in high-stakes and unfair demands that sane folks do best to avoid. Yes, much better description.

Perhaps it’s my own background in the medical field that turns me off of the show. It’s not that I’ve never enjoyed this genre. I love House, M.D. (2004–2012)—well, the first three seasons, anyway. However, House features a differential team of four doctors on one case. No hospital would maintain the costs of such a team, not to mention the fees and insurance premiums of a doc like House, for any length of time.

I found Grey’s Anatomy to be much more realistic. . .perhaps too much. Though I appreciated the medical jargon being on par, the “eat their young” mentality rankled me; it always has IRL. Fortunately, the cast seems to balance the hierarchical poverty with big egos and ambitions.

The main female protagonist, Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) carries her determination with a vulnerability that reveals the potential in her story line (first day at the hospital, discovers she just slept with one of her attending supervisors; also has a famous surgeon mother with Alzheimers–yep, tear-jerker material here). Plus, by the end of the pilot, I could tell the show intended on highlighting valuable issues. Hopefully, ten years later, the trials of their profession—such as the death of a patient—still trump the entanglements of the show’s characters.

Of course, the show is suggestively called Grey’s Anatomy, alluding to plenty of romantic collisions ahead. No, thank you.

If fans of the show out there highly disagree with me, or think I didn’t give it much of a chance, feel free to let me know. Do you like it for the storyline, the characters (new and old) or the themes? I guess it did win two Golden Globes for good reason, yea?)

Rating: B

ASV Villainy Rating: Any medical professional is in prime position to kill their patients; getting away with it would be troublesome, though. M – Megalomaniacs

Next up: Hereafter (2010)

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