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7 Films to Watch Before Seeing David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’

Written by on October 2, 2014 


He may be once again adapting a pulpy, best-selling novel, but Gone Girl is quite unlike the rest of David Fincher‘s resume. Yes, his incredibly precise technical approach is still fully on display, engulfing the (often humorous) satire in the sort of icy, indelible world only he can conjure. As I said in my review, “That lurking darkness, by this point as identifiable a trait as any in the Fincher oeuvre, can be found in spades throughout, but Gone Girl is, first and foremost, a black comedy.”

In some ways, it seems like perhaps the most fun he’s had behind the camera, paying homage to a variety of directors. Ahead of the film’s release this weekend, we’ve taken a look at a number of films that help inform the Gillian Flynn adaptation. While they’re worth brushing up on before heading into the theater, each selection would make for a valuable watch if you’re looking for similarly themed offerings. Continue below and let us know if you’d have any to add in the comments.

Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven)


With the garish source material and all of its twists and turns, the term “trash” has been bandied about often when it comes to David Fincher‘s latest feature, thus spurring negative connotations for many. However, when a director can elevate such material to an intensely compelling level, praise shall be given. One of those most adept at such execution is Paul Verhoeven, whose erotic thriller Basic Instinct shares the completely bonkers arena that Gone Girl occupies, particularly in its last half. One also can’t forget the connecting tissue: a much-talked-about flash of genitalia. – Jordan R.

Body Double and Dressed to Kill (Brian De Palma)


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. – Nick N.

Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick)


Not since Stanley Kubrick has a director earned the moniker of “control freak” like David Fincher — a stamp of approval if there ever was one. Both employ numerous takes and push their actors to the point of exhaustion, so Fincher’s found the ideal subject with Ben Affleck‘s aloof, weary character of Nick Dunne. When it comes to the closest point of comparison with Kubrick’s filmography, Eyes Wide Shut unquestionably comes to mind, given its amusingly lurid exploration of a marriage on the rocks. Adding to the collation, Daniel Kasman acutely points out the dreamlike depiction of New York — told in heightened flashbacks — and one may be convinced Tom Cruise‘s wandering William Harford is just around the next corner. – Jordan R.

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