Final Benchmark Claire + Paula

Claire Powell + Paula Vekker

Reel Reading

23 May 2022

Mrs. Giknis

                                    Anatomy of a Scene

           Gone Girl is a psychological thriller that was released in 2014. Directed by David Flincher who uses his “strong sense of story”(FilmLifestyle) to create a dark and dominant atmosphere to lure the audience in. Nick and Amy's cat appears in small scenes throughout the movie. Bleeker, the cat, was seen as an object that someone needed to take care of. In the beginning of the movie, Nick was supposed to be seen as likable, as he comes home instantly when he gets a call that his cat has escaped. This informs the audience that Nick is someone to trust, the sense that we then believe Nick has nothing to do with the disappearance of Amy. Den of Geek says, It's their abiding association with the supernatural. As an omen of things to come,  that makes their representation in horror films particularly interesting.” The cat is viewed as the omen of Amy's disappearance. 
      The film continues to carry the notion “things aren’t what they seem.” Director Flincher uses elements of suspense in plot and character building to engage viewers into the story. Escalation is implied as the speakers in the scene, officer Rhonda accuse Nick of withholding the pregnancy of his missing wife. The point of view is focused as an over the shoulder shot, as the back of Nick's head is only visible and the evidence of credit card debt and life insurance forms the officers are staging. Movement is used to escalate the emotions of the character in the scene… as officer Rhonda stomps on the ground and ironically the couple's pictures fall flat on their face, as a physical sign of their relationship turmoil. Nearing the end of the interaction between officer Rhonda and Nick it is revealed through a phone call the question of Amy’s pregnancy was in fact true. Nick thrashes his drinking glass on the floor, stating he will not speak to law enforcement moving forward without a lawyer. This abrupt action by Nick establishes a sense of dominance and acts as a symbolic representation of the peak of the film. The framing of the sense switches to a back of the head shot of Nick, putting spotlight on officer Rhonda and her fellow detective. This choice seemed to have been made to redirect the power and experience of Nick's shock and building aggression, as well as to establish the foggy distance between Nick and his interaction with the delivering of this news. Nick’s experience in this scene has been highlighted in the space his reaction takes up in the frame, which lacks the viewing of his facial expression. Nick’s statement adds to an overall sense of weary conclusion as the audience now assumes Amys husband committed the murder, but the pieces of the puzzle don’t fully fit yet. 
    When the Officer throws down the folder of images used for evidence, these pictures hold more color than the background. The tint of the room is filled with intense brown and yellow colors. This implies that Nick is stuck in the false reality that his wife Amy has created for them. Even so, everyone else has fallen victim to her tactics. There is a dark shadow that covers half of Nick and the officers face as they are facing each other and arguing. Almost all of the furniture and walls are a mixture of yellow and dark brown. Vishnevetsky from the AV Club says, “Fincher’s style—with its looming ceilings and motel-murder-scene lighting—can make something as simple as a man going out for a cup of coffee look like a procedural.” I believe Flincher made this obvious for the viewers to realize that Nick and law enforcement officers are in a false constructed reality, much different than Amy’s.

Cinematic - The choice of camera angles was definitely intentional. Blue and yellow lenses often come into play for almost all of the scenes with Nick. Theatrical - Nick and Amy’s cat is definitely a symbol. The cat is viewed as an omen for what lies ahead. Literary - Smooth Dialogue. Narration is overwhelmingly cool and sensual. Almost to trick the viewer into the real mood of Amy Dunne. “Amy not only crafts her own narration, but controls it.”

Breaking down the Anatomy =

Joshua Rothmen (The New Yorker) “I enjoyed Fincher’s film on its own terms, in all its abstract, intellectual, postmodern glory.” Rothmen says that the film is full of texture and detail, a psychological thriller. The twists that upturn the plot really change the narrative which makes it so interesting to watch. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (AV Club) “The movie traffics in flashbacks and backward twists that purport to reveal more and more about its dissatisfied central couple, but which only uncover facades.” Visgnevestsky also says “Fincher’s style—with its looming ceilings and motel-murder-scene lighting—can make something as simple as a man going out for a cup of coffee look like a procedural.”


Flincher, David, director. Gone Girl. YouTube, YouTube, 27 Jan. 2022, Accessed 23 May 2022. Harrison, Mark. “The Importance of Cats in Horror Cinema.” Den of Geek, 31 Oct. 2018,

Matt. “David Fincher Directing Style: Learn from the Modern Master • Filmmaking Lifestyle.” Filmmaking Lifestyle, 12 Mar. 2022,

Miller, Jenni. “Is Cheeto the Cat the Real Star of Gone Girl?” Gone Girl Cat Star,

Rothman, Joshua. “What ‘Gone Girl’ Is Really About.” The New Yorker, 8 Oct. 2014,

Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy. “Gone Girl Is a Trick Only David Fincher Could Pull Off.” The A.V. Club, The A.V. Club, 20 July 2018,