This Week’s Loser Film Review: Gone Girl

Although this is nominally a review of the new David Fincher thriller Gone Girl, I’m going to talk primarily about a pitcher called Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. (In the States Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is getting distributed under the shorter title Alan Partridge, presumably because, since over here we don’t use the word “papa,” we’d have trouble understanding the longer version.)

Alan Partridge was what I watched at home in order to get over the trauma of having to sit through Gone Girl, a pitcher being spoken of as a work of art by the sorts of critics who are still feeling pretty shocked by the Impressionists. Gone Girl isn’t, I’m afraid, up to my usual hieratic excoriations. I suppose that if you’ve never seen Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques, whose plot and tropes are brazenly ripped off here, you might be surprised by the unfolding of events. And if you’ve never seen newsreel footage of Robert Taylor testifying against, and obliterating the careers of, Howard Da Silva, Karen Morley, and Lester Cole in the HUAC witch trials, you might think that Ben Affleck’s performance warranted some praise for believability.

But the main problem with Gone Girl is that it manifestly lacks a scene in which Steve Coogan, wielding an arcade air-gun, accidentally shoots a pellet straight into the newsprint forehead of JFK and moans, “Oh, no, not again.”

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