Watch: David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ Retells Euripides’ ‘Medea’

Watch: David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ Retells Euripides’ ‘Medea’

Every story you know and love originated in ancient times. David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl,’ adapted from Gillian Flynn’s brilliant, acidic novel, is no exception. You’ve been listening to, reading, and witnessing tales of revenge, tales of escape, and tales of murder for as long as you can remember, but you may not have made the link, when doing so, between the modern-day film you’re watching or story you’re reading with the dramas of ancient Greece, the dramas with themes and ideas so enormous they had to be screamed to be fully realized. This video essay by Ivana Brehas makes its crucial point, which is that ‘Gone Girl’ is a retelling of Euripides’ ‘Medea,’ in a calm but firm manner, Trent Reznor’s soundtrack circulating beneath the methodical analysis, an analysis which bears down upon barbarism, betrayal, and a level of discomfort in the relations between two people that would be enough to curl most viewers’ toes for an indefinite period of time, doing so through point-by-point comparison which, as presented here, makes perfect sense.  One would have to imagine that Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike would have had to have ample PTSD therapy after dipping their toes in Flynn’s sea of dysfunction, but hey, perhaps not. The story of Medea, of revenge, of escape, of rage, is in our narrative bloodstream. We see these stories, and we are horrified by them, but we aren’t that horrified–because we recognize their essential truth.

Watch: David Fincher’s Close-Ups Are the Keys to His Work

Watch: David Fincher’s Close-Ups Are the Keys to His Work

David Fincher is, in one sense, what would happen if Joseph Cornell, H.P. Lovecraft, and Alfred Hitchcock teamed up to make vast, rambling, quietly explosive epics. Watching one of Fincher’s films is less like following a story than entering a fully imagined world. This aspect of the experience of his work is most evident in his use of close-ups–in these shots, the camera is not so much bearing down as peering in. In frequent Press Play contributor Jacob T. Swinney’s latest video, he takes a close look at these close looks, and the result is every bit as fun as watching a Fincher movie. 

Watch: What Is David Fincher’s Favorite Recurring Detail?

Watch: What Is David Fincher’s Favorite Recurring Detail?

If you guessed "the refrigerator," you’re correct! And yet chances are you didn’t. The refrigerator, for Fincher, is oddly enough a perfect locus for the sorts of stories he is drawn to; stories of containment and of personal degradation, going from ‘The Game’ to ‘Se7en’ to ‘Gone Girl.’ And, in balance, the good old ice box turns out to be a miniature stage for Fincher: inside its icy depths, you get to know a subject, from creepy introverts to jubilant young lovers to hard-working detectives. This new video by De FilmKrant takes us to the back of the fridge, as it were–and inside Fincher himself: inside his methods, inside the tools he uses to get the work of storytelling done.