Lives and society are largely based around the roles people play. Societies exist with an expectation that everyone plays a certain role. This provides order otherwise, it becomes a chaos. By “roles” I mean the “faces” they put on for the outside world, their loved ones and even for themselves. Sometimes it’s an image, a way of dealing with or adjusting the truth, many times it’s a lie to “fit in” with external expectations. Filmmaker David Fincher’s teams up with writer/feminist critic Gillian Flynn (who is adapting her own controversial novel) for Gone Girl, a film that is all about lies: the lies we tell each other, the lies society tells us and the lies we tell ourselves. It is a dark film with a cynical view of people. Gone Girl uses the framework of a standard-issue “whodunit” to create a bleak, darkly clever and absolutely biting satire on gender roles and dynamics, marriage and societal expectations. To go into detail about specifics in the story may in fact alter the experience and so prospective viewers may want to go into this film as “blind” as possible. Nevertheless the best review for such a film as this is to provide the context to get the uninitiated in the best possible mindset for such an experience.
Director Antoine Fuqua teams up with actor Denzel Washington, his muse in badassery, for the first time since 2001’s Training Day. In The Equalizer, a remake of the hit 1980s prime-time vigilante drama, Denzel gets to play a little more heroically in the role of Robert McCall, a semi-retiree who spends his days working at Home Mart (fictionalized Home Depot) and his sleepless nights reading classic literature at a local diner, where he befriends a young prostitute named Alina (Chloe Grace Moretz). An aura of mystery surrounds McCall though he always leaves a positive and generous impression on those he meets. However, when paying for a film called The Equalizer and given what the marketing promises, we know the McCall is every bit the kind of man Denzel Washington is great at playing, the righteous man who takes serious action and excites the part of audiences who crave simple cathartic vigilante action-movie justice. The familiarity and predictability work in the film’s favor more often than not in this thrilling yet tonally discordant and arguably overstuffed film.