Mixed Media – Gone Girl and Kill the Messenger

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If the new movie Gone Girl proves anything it is that humanity has lost.

It’s directed by David Fincher who made two of the most spot on criticisms of our day and age. Fight Club taught us how the media has shaped our mindset of what it means to be a man, with our only out in rebelling our brainwashing being to blow it all up. The Social Network showed what happens when it doesn’t get blown up and how we began to  interact more with technology than our fellow human being.

Gone Girl is the end game. It is unconcerned with making any societal criticisms, rather it is “entertainment”.

Ben Affleck plays a married man whose wife is missing. He seems somewhat worried about her whereabouts, but is most concerned about how he is perceived on TV. There are twists and turns but most important to the characters in the movie are what strangers in faraway states watching cable news in an airport might think about them. If this was a satire, such perspective would be effective, but the movie is stone cold serious that the biggest stake an accused person can face is not imprisonment, but negative Twitter reactions on television interviews.

There will undoubtedly be think pieces about how Gone Girl is a clever commentary on marriage. They will be wrong.Or they will have been written by people in miserable marriages.

And yes, Gone Girl is an extremely well directed, gripping movie that uses our collective hatred for Ben Affleck effectively, but it’s cynicism complete with an ending that gears us up for a sequel, prevents it from having any redeeming values besides being prime fodder for a time capsule to epitomize the worst of our selfie, status update obsessed trending society.

If after Gone Girl you don’t believe media is the enemy of humanity, see Kill The Messenger which makes a similar point. Based on the true story of Gary Webb, a newspaper reporter who claimed the CIA imported cocaine in the US in the 1980’s in order to fund the contras in Nicaragua. His story gained accolades when it was published in 1995 until major media outlets stated Webb’s reporting wasn’t credible.

The movie comes from the perspective that the media is evil and ruined the one good man telling the truth, but then Kill the Messenger doesn’t do Webb any favors by unintentionally showing him having shoddy journalistic techniques. He never tape records his sources, nor does he take detailed notes. Instead he simply writes down a key word or two when interviewing someone like Andy Garcia telling him about a far reaching conspiracy.

But for all its flaws I can admire Kill the Messenger for at least trying to tackle substantial issues, while Gone Girl for all its technical virtuosity wants to leave you with only one thought, besides the need to take a shower, women are the devil.

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