Tag Archives: Gillian Flynn

Movie vs. Book: Dark Places

Libby Day didn’t have an ordinary childhood. She grew up alone — not because her parents both died, nor because she was left behind, but because her mother and two sisters were murdered by her brother. “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas” is her claim to fame even 25 years later, and in many ways, the murders still rule her life. She spent decades surviving off money earned through life insurance policies, donations and book sales from the memoir she wrote. Now her money is running out. Her brother is still in jail. They still don’t talk. And Libby hasn’t started a new life because she can’t let go of her past.

But she then learns a “Kill Club” exists, where people investigate some of the nation’s most infamous crimes and murders. The Day murders are a favorite in the club. When Libby realizes she can take advantage of the club by accepting money from them in return for speaking to other people associated with her brother’s murders, she does it. She is desperate for money. But she soon realizes that most members of the “Kill Club” think she’s weak and a liar. They believe her brother isn’t the killer. Being seven at the time of the murders, Libby doesn’t remember much, so she sets out to re-investigate the murders herself and encounters an entire secret history of the Day family that she never knew existed.

Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places includes many of the same things that readers liked about her more famous bestseller Gone Girl: rotating — and untrustworthy — narrators and perspectives, suspense, mystery, a big twist and general creepiness. Gone Girl has its bloody, gory moments, but Dark Places trumps those. The killing scene is gruesome, and there are sections about sacrifices to Satan that can’t help but cause goosebumps. Generally speaking, the film does a good job of portraying the same creepiness the book offers, but still doesn’t compare.

The casting is a little off. Charlize Theron as Libby Day is all wrong; she is too beautiful, too confident, too “cool” to be the unconfident misfit that is Libby Day. Similarly, Chloe Grace Moretz is too angelic to play a Satan-worshipper. But it’s more than just the casting. The flashback scenes including killing scene is hokey. Shot in black and white and shaky, it looks more “Blair Witch Project” than “Psycho.”

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with the movie, other than to say it just doesn’t feel right. There are a few characters that are left out or killed off, including Libby’s Aunt Diane. Some of the interviews Libby conducts are also excluded. I understand those choices were made for time purposes. Otherwise, the movie follows the book closely enough. But there’s something about it — maybe it’s the fact that the book is just so creepy, so dark, so twisty that it’s hard to create a visual version that can even remotely compare. The movie doesn’t allow us to connect with the characters like the book does — and suddenly I found myself more curious about when the movie would end than “Did her brother really do it?”

Get Dark Places on your Kindle for $7.99.

Or in paperback for $8.33.

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Movie vs. Book: Gone Girl

The morning of Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth anniversary starts off normally enough. Nick heads to work at the bar he owns in a small Missouri town, leaving his wife, Amy, at home to do whatever it is housewives do. But this day is unlike any other. Nick comes home to find Amy’s missing. The house is in disarray, as if there were a struggle, and no one seems to know where Amy is.

Suddenly, Nick and Amy’s anniversary turns into a police-assisted hunt for Amy. The story about the beautiful missing housewife quickly goes national, and as time passes, the media and people across the country peg Nick as a killer. He smiles when he should appear sad. He’s kind to others, instead of pissed off or upset. Not to mention, his alibi is shoddy, and police determine that the crime scene looks staged.

While all this is going on, we get a glimpse into Amy’s version of the story through flashback scenes dictated by Amy’s diary entries. We see both the happy times Nick and Amy had together (their first kiss! Nick’s proposal!) and the bad times (Nick hit Amy! She wants to buy a gun!). So what happened to Amy? And did Nick have something to do with it?

What I’ve detailed for you is a summary of both the novel and the movie. I say that because the movie stays so true to the book, thanks to the fact that Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn also wrote the film’s screenplay. Not only does the movie follow the book to a T, the casting is also incredibly on point. Ben Affleck is a natural at Nick Dunne’s aloof, smug charm. A relatively unknown Rosamund Pike plays Amy in an exceptionally sharp, twisted, scary way. Neil Patrick Harris as one of Amy’s former lover’s and Tyler Perry as Nick’s lawyer round out the perfectly-casted bunch.

There are a few minor changes, but it’s hard to describe them and not reveal any spoilers about the story. I do, however, think it’s safe to say that one thing the movie does differently is make the viewer hate Amy more than Nick at the end. The movie makes you sympathize with Nick and feel bad for the poor bastard. But when I finished the novel, I hated both Nick and Amy equally by the end. Aside from that, the casting, the direction, the music and sound, and the overall opportunity to see this story rather than picture it your head might make it even more twisted and creepy than the book. And I mean that in a good way.

Get Gone Girl ( Movie Tie-In Edition) for $7.86.

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‘Gone Girl’ Author Gillian Flynn To Update ‘Hamlet’ as Novel

flynnThose of you who loved the bestselling novel Gone Girl and therefore its author, Gillian Flynn, have probably — like me — been wondering what she’s going to do next. The Gone Girl movie comes out in October, and Flynn has recently penned a comic, but there’s now even more news!

According to Entertainment Weekly, Gillian Flynn is working on an updated version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s part of an initiative by Penguin Random House Group to retell Shakespeare’s tales by some of today’s best-known authors. Hamlet will be published for Hogarth Shakespeare.

Flynn said in a press release that of all the plays she could have done, she’s excited to re-tell Hamlet:

Hamlet has long been a fascination of mine: murder, betrayal, revenge, deceit, madness — all my favorite things,” Flynn said in a press release. “Add to that some of Shakespeare’s most intriguing, curious characters — from the titular brooding prince to rueful Ophelia — and what (slightly cheeky) writer wouldn’t be tempted to reimagine it?”

All of these Shakespearean retellings are set to be released in 2016, on the 400th anniversary of the poet’s death.

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‘Gone Girl’ Author Gillian Flynn Pens Comic

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 10.36.22 PMThe bestselling author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, is taking a stab at comics. Exciting, yes, but don’t worry; it doesn’t appear to be a permanent career change.

According to The Guardian, Flynn collaborated with graphic artist Dave Gibbons to create a comic that will be on display in the British Library’s upcoming exhibition of British comics. Gibbons is the artist who drew Alan Moore’s Watchmen comic series. Apparently, she’s one of many authors to pair up with comic artists for this exhibition. The comic Flynn and Gibbons worked on together, entitled ‘Mask,’ shows “what happens when parents turn vigilante.”

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New Books from Gillian Flynn

Thanks to her huge success with this year’s bestseller Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn is now set to publish two more books — one adult and one young adult novel.

According to The New York Times, Crown Publishers will publish the adult novel, which will be her fifth. This comes after her huge year with Gone Girl as one of 2012’s biggest hits, besides the Fifty Shades books.

A fourth book is also in the works and expected to be published in 2015. No dates have been set for Flynn’s fifth novel or the YA novel. Publishers are also keeping mum on plot details, saying only that the adult book “will be in the tradition of her darkly brilliant and gripping previous books.”

I loved Gone Girl, and can’t wait to read more from Gillian Flynn. What say you?

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Review: Gone Girl

Recap: When Gone Girl begins, we’re drawn into a story about a Nick Dunne and his wife Amy, who suddenly disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. Initially, we feel bad for Nick, who’s distraught and acts uncomfortably odd about his missing wife. But a certain point, the reader begins to question whether he in fact had something to do with Amy’s disappearance and possible death. After about a week, it’s clear that Nick has become a main suspect, thanks to some fishy evidence and a weak alibi from Nick. Nick works to uncover what really happened, while the police and national media have already pegged him as a killer.

The book has two narrators — both Nick and Amy. We get a glimpse into their crumbling marriage, thanks to Amy’s diary entries and Nick’s narration. It was a good life — one that started off as true love, with the couple happily married and living in New York City. But when Nick’s mother gets sick, they re-locate down South, where Nick spent his childhood. It’s clear that it’s a lifestyle change that didn’t agree with Amy, and her frustration grows over the years. As the book continues, it becomes more and more difficult to decipher whether or not Nick is a killer. Then page 219 punches you in the face.

Analysis: Despite the narrations, we, as the readers, are as out of the loop about the truth behind Nick and Amy’s marriage as the secondary characters in the novel. Crime novelist Gillian Flynn brilliantly writes their narrations to keep everyone in the dark. Amy has secrets. Nick has secrets. They are only revealed when Amy and Nick want them to be. These revelations come at critical points in the novel, with little to no build-up. They keep the book moving in an unexpectedly slow, but excellently eery way.

The deeper the story gets, the more backwards it becomes, and the more we realize that both Nick and Amy have issues. They’re both insecure and stubborn. But while Nick is susceptible to making errors, Amy is brilliant. Without spoiling the book for anyone, all I can say is it is artfully paced, brilliantly written, and very, very twisted. Expect the unexpected. Gillian Flynn is certainly in it for the shock value. While many have panned the book’s ending, I loved it for the simple reason that it’s not what I expected. It’s how any good twisted, crime novel should end.

MVP: Amy. She’s what kept me reading.

Get Gone Girl in hardcover for $13.94.

Or get it on your Kindle for $12.99.


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Get ‘Gone Girl’ in Hardcover for $13.98, Down from $25

In addition to books, I also spend much of my time reading magazines, immersing myself in mostly trivial, but highly enjoyable pop culture news. When reading a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, I came across a review for this seemingly enticing novel, Gone Girl.

Gone Girl tells the story of a woman named Amy, who goes missing and her crazy, self-centered husband, Nick. The thriller is told from two perspectives, both Nick and Amy. And as the reviewer explains, author Gillian Flynn expertly makes them sound like two different people.

Apparently on page 219, everything changes, and the book flies by. That notion alone makes me want to read this book that Jeff Giles says will turn Gillian Flynn into a star.

Get Gone Girl in hardcover now for just $13.98, down from $25.

Or get it on your Kindle for just $12.99.

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