When Michael Clayton steps into that taxi, everything stops. What follows is a perfect example of one of cinemas most effective tools; the use of silence. A lot of film makers haven’t yet realised the importance of silence. They haven’t figured out that when an actor stops speaking, something magical happens. The viewer is immediately transported into the mind of the character and begins to intimately feel what the character feels.
How a film is edited also plays a major part. When the editor takes his foot off the pedal and instigates a slower pace with longer shots, the audience starts to connect to the characters and experiences an emotional resonance that is almost impossible to tap into when the shots come thick and fast á la the Michael Bay school of film making.
Michael Clayton is a fantastic film for a variety of reasons, but what cements it as one of the greatest films of the 21st century is those few minutes of silence at the end where all goes quite and you get chance to do exactly what Michael Clayton is doing in the back seat of that taxi; thinking about what the hell just happened.
Gone Girl is another brilliant piece of art from David Fincher. I love the way he digs around inside the treasure chest of human existence in such a meticulously anthropological way. In this film he explores marriage and what it does to the human psyche on a variety of levels.
Parts of the film are truly disturbing to an extent that I don’t think we have really seen from Fincher since Se7en. It invokes deep thought concerning the meaning of marriage as well as relationships and asks some questions that I believe few will want to explore.
The pure cinematic craft displayed in Gone Girl, like all Fincher’s work, is astounding. The way that he builds scenes, with beautiful light, perfect camera angles, nicely paced editing and a killer score should be studied by any aspiring film maker. On top of this, he manages to use the script to tease the very best performances from his actors. I mean, Rosamund Pike, who rose to fame in the atrocious Die Another Day, goes way above what I believed she was capable of in this film, displaying a cool and collected psychopathic demeanour while still holding on to the charm of that cute girl next door.
Gone Girl isn’t my favourite Fincher Film, at least after the first viewing, but it sure demonstrates that he is a true artist who’s craft is way above most others working in cinema today.
Between North Korea and South Korea there is a 4km wide strip of land called the DMZ that runs the full 250km length of the border and acts as a military buffer zone between the two countries. A small portion of the DMZ is called the Joint Security Area and contains conference rooms used for peace negotiations. Here, just panes of glass and wooden doors separate two warring nation states.
Paul Thomas Anderson made this film when he was 23 with $20,000 that he scrounged from a variety of sources including his college fund and his Girlfriend’s credit card. The result is pretty impressive. There’s something about watching a master at work in his formative years that I find deeply inspiring.