Posts Tagged ‘twists’

On the morning of Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears and foul play is suspected.  As the police investigate, fingers are pointed straight at Nick; all the evidence suggests that he has hurt Amy (or worse), and as he protests his innocence, nobody, including the reader, is sure who to believe.

There is a split narrative, with Nick describing events on the day of and the days following the disappearance, and also talking about his marriage to Amy, and through Amy’s diary entries leading up to their fifth wedding anniversary.  Through their two voices, a tale is told of two people who meet, fall in love and get married, and seem to have it all – until they don’t.  Until job losses, financial worries and parental problems threaten their happiness, and slowly but surely, the truth is revealed.

It’s really hard to review this book, because I think it is absolutely essential that there are no spoilers for anyone reading it.  However, I will say that I really really liked the first part, where it was never quite clear what had happened.  Then comes a twist, and a change of pace, which I initially was quite disappointed by, and I thought that the book would suffer because of it – but I was wrong.  The level of tension was kept up, and I found the book hard to put down.

I thought the characters were really well written, even if I didn’t particularly like some of them.  (Nick was not that likeable, and Amy’s parents were vomit inducing!)

My only gripe with this book was the ending, which, while well written, and which was actually very clever when I look back at it, didn’t satisfy me,  but I can’t say why without giving away important plot points.  Overall though, this book was a terrific read, and I will be seeking out Gillian Flynn’s other works.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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This film was not directed by Alfred Hitchcock. But it could have been…I feel that certainly it must have been influenced by Hitchcock. All the Hitchcockonian (is that a word?) traits are there: a crime that does not turn out as it’s supposed to, the requirement of huge suspension of disbelief, jarring music to signal that SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT is happening, and of course, a beautiful blonde bombshell. In this case, the bombshell in question is Marilyn Monroe. She plays Rose Loomis, a woman who has come to Niagara with her emotionally unbalanced husband George (Joseph Cotten). However, Rose is scheming with her young lover, to murder her husband so that she and said lover can be together. Enter young couple Ray and Polly Cutler (Casey Adams and Jean Peters), on a belated honeymoon, who end up getting entangled in the Loomis’s unhappy marriage, and the fall out from Rose’s plan.

I actually did enjoy this film a lot, even though it was hard to take seriously. Marilyn Monroe is stunning and certainly looks the part of a femme fatale – all pillar box red lipstick (even when she has just woken up in the morning), and practically busting out of her very clingy clothes. I really really like Marilyn in comedies (and I do believe that she was under-rated as a comic actress). I’ve seen her in other dramas, where she did much better work than here, but in Niagara, she becomes a caricature, and at times overacts quite obviously. Casey Adams, as the husband in the honeymooning couple was beyond annoying. He seemed to spend most of the film grinning inanely and came across as nothing so much as an overgrown schoolboy.

However, Jean Peters and Joseph Cotten were both superb – Stevens in particular. I actually thought that Stevens’ character Polly, who was a demure but witty and compassionate wife, looked far more attractive – although certainly not as striking – than Rose. Peters also played the part extremely well, not being too over the top, but remaining believeable in an unbelieveable plot. Cotten also excelled as the brow beaten husband of Rose, at the end of his tether, and seemingly aware that things between them were not going to end well.

The storyline is hard to take seriously, but not hard to enjoy, with the requisite twists for such a film. The ending came somewhat abruptly – but I liked it. And with a total running time of just over an hour and half, the scripting is nice and tight, and the plot moves quickly, thus holding interest.

Overall, despite it’s obvious flaws, this is a film which is well worth watching at least once.

Year of release: 1953

Director: Henry Hathaway

Producer: Charles Brackett

Writers: Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, Richard L. Breen

Main cast: Joseph Cotten, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters, Casey Adams

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