The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

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domino harvey
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The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#1 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:57 pm


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Brian C
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Re: New Films in Production, v.2

#2 Post by Brian C » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:40 pm

By sheer coincidence I read THE GOLDFINCH last week. I enjoyed it well enough, but I can scarcely imagine it turning into a good film. It's going to be awfully tough to pull a narrative out of that book that's worth making a film out of, especially if it's going to get the Oscar-bait treatment.

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Boosmahn
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Re: New Films in Production, v.2

#3 Post by Boosmahn » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:11 pm

I'm both excited and nervous for the film adaption of The Goldfinch. The book's descriptions are lavish and beautiful, so having the cinematographer of Blade Runner: 2049 and Sicario on board guarantees it will, at the very least, look good; the various art directors/set designers are experienced as well. And that's not even mentioning cast members Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Denis O'Hare, Ansel Elgort, and Jeffrey Wright!

My worries lie with the script. Adapting an 800-page book is no easy task in the first place, but the source has attracted some criticism for its later chapters. This project has the workings of a great film, but damn will it need a strong screenplay. It could either make or break the entire movie.

Edit: sentence structure
Last edited by Boosmahn on Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:18 pm

I am so ready for a Luke Wilson career resurgence

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#5 Post by ianthemovie » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:27 pm

Count me among the critics of the book's later chapters, which devolve into a cliche-ridden Russian mobster crime story laden with pretentious pseudo-philosophical conversations. The first half was good but the second half asks the reader to buy way too many improbabilities.

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Fiery Angel
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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#6 Post by Fiery Angel » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:45 pm

The book was insufferably bloated, self-indulgent and pretentious, but there is a kernel of an interesting plot that a two-hour movie could streamline and make entertaining.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#7 Post by goblinfootballs » Wed May 29, 2019 12:14 pm


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Boosmahn
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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#8 Post by Boosmahn » Wed May 29, 2019 4:15 pm

The locations look spot-on, especially the desolate Las Vegas.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#9 Post by dda1996a » Wed May 29, 2019 4:55 pm

I think all trailers for films he shoots need to say "cinematography by Roger Deakins" before anything else

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#10 Post by goblinfootballs » Wed May 29, 2019 5:35 pm

I hope that song is less obtrusive in the film as it is in the trailer.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#11 Post by bakofalltrades » Wed May 29, 2019 7:52 pm

I really enjoyed the novel, pretty much front to back if I recall. Would have been fun to see it published serially. It kind of read like a serial novel from what I remember.

I LOVE that Perfume Genius song (and the album as a whole).

As for Crowley, I like the couple of films I’ve seen by him (Brooklyn and Boy A).

And yet, this trailer leaves me pretty apathetic. I don’t know if I’m put off by having to “re-hear” that song in the context of the trailer/imagery, or if the tone of trailer itself has me skeptical. Can’t help but cringe hearing lines like, “We all feel afraid sometimes.” Or, “You never know what’s going to decide your future.” Hopefully they sit better in context.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#12 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu May 30, 2019 4:41 am

Deakins aside this has all the hallmarks of overripe sentimental tripe and acting by numbers in spades . Hopefully this is just traileritis and the emetic tinkly piano is ditched. I have not read the book.

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Never Cursed
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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#13 Post by Never Cursed » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:47 pm

This had one of the worst wide release opening weekends of all time at only 2.5 million dollars from 2500 domestic theaters. For comparison, Serenity made around 4.5 million dollars domestically during its January opening. The Goldfinch is really shaping up to be this year's Life Itself, which is about where this awful film deserves to land commercially. No one else here or anywhere should bother with this, not even for Roger Deakins' admittedly impressive work (if only because 1917 will almost certainly make better use of his talents), and Ansel Elgort should consider himself blessed that everyone will have forgotten about this by the time the West Side Story remake rolls around.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#14 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:02 pm

What a misfire. It was begging to be a prestige HBO miniseries but they had to go and make a movie out of it.

It's precious affected twee vibe would work much better on tv.

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Big Ben
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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#15 Post by Big Ben » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:10 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:02 pm
What a misfire. It was begging to be a prestige HBO miniseries but they had to go and make a movie out of it.

It's precious affected twee vibe would work much better on tv.
This appears to be the consensus I'm seeing. It went from more complex in the novel to schmaltzy nonsense in it's transition from page to screen.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#16 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:06 pm

Can anyone remark on how Luke Wilson is in this? Was hoping it'd be something of a comeback vehicle for him if it was good and people, you know, saw it

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domino harvey
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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#17 Post by domino harvey » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:14 pm

All anyone wants to talk about is how bad Elgort apparently is, at least from what I’ve read. Maybe it’s a good thing that no one is talking about him in conjunction with this film?

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#18 Post by Never Cursed » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:46 pm

Not that it wouldn't have helped, but the core problems of this movie go beyond what a simple expansion of scope and running time could have provided. The biggest issue is a structural one: the (unread by me) book's story is told in linear order, but the movie fragments it and crosscuts frequently between the main character's childhood and adolescence. I'm certainly not writing off nonlinearity in movies entirely, but there's no thematic or stylistic or emotional reason for telling this story in this way, no nonlinear connection between child and adult that needs to be established for the story to make sense. As the second act begins and the audience is told more information about a bunch of separate events (I'm thinking especially of the post-bombing scene and a smaller one involving Luke Wilson and a social security number), I realized that the only thing the nonlinearity is doing is deliberately keeping information from us for the sake of cheap "twists" and emotional moments. I don't know what eight hours of this same idea would have provided that couldn't have been outdone by a shorter rewrite or even a re-edit.

It's not like the movie needed more than 150 minutes to tell its story - the film is overlong as it is and could have very easily lost a lot for the better (all of Nicole Kidman's scenes, the second meeting between Ansel Elgort and the buyer he swindled, the pointless subplot at the start involving the older kid's cigarettes), and that's not even touching on several ridiculous characters who are just screaming for a rewrite, particularly Finn Wolfhard's edgy drug-abusing 12 year old Slav.
mfunk9786 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:06 pm
Can anyone remark on how Luke Wilson is in this? Was hoping it'd be something of a comeback vehicle for him if it was good and people, you know, saw it
He gives what is probably the best performance in the film. Like Sarah Paulson and the aforementioned Finn Wolfhard, he's saddled with an almost unplayably bad role (cartoonishly awful deadbeat alcoholic dad), but he's the only one of the three to get beyond a comic-strip level of characterization. His last scene, where he learns that he's at the end of his rope in several ways and goes from manipulative to angry to explosively angry and despondent over the span of a few minutes, is by far the best actor-driven moment in the movie. Pity he's only in it for like 15 or 20 minutes, though, and it's certainly not worth the ticket or the time.

And yeah, Ansel Elgort is total dead weight, but really, no one save Luke Wilson commits any energy to what they're doing. Jeffery Wright especially is sleepwalking through the entire movie - his cameo in Game Night is a better performance than his failed stab at a Supporting Actor nomination here. Elgort at least has the excuse of having to try and sell a ridiculous caricature (an emotionally drained, opiate-addicted, well-heeled, high-powered... antique furniture salesman).

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#19 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:02 am

That's good to hear. Hopefully he and Anderson can see past whatever's between the two and they can work together again soon. Or Wilson can just find something interesting to work on outside of Anderson's films - any time he's been able to flex his acting muscle a bit, he's been fantastic in my view

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#20 Post by John Cope » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:21 am

mfunk9786 wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:02 am
That's good to hear. Hopefully he and Anderson can see past whatever's between the two and they can work together again soon. Or Wilson can just find something interesting to work on outside of Anderson's films - any time he's been able to flex his acting muscle a bit, he's been fantastic in my view
Well, although I wouldn't necessarily classify it as a "comeback", he does have a very prominent role in the new Egoyan.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#21 Post by dda1996a » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:46 am

Hopefully Egoyan and Egoyan can see past whatever's between the two and go back to creating terrific multi character dramas like he used to in the 90s.

Also, how has Elgort became a star is beyond me. Hated Fault in Our Stars, but even there hewasny very memorable, and he is even pretty forgettable in Baby Driver

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#22 Post by tehthomas » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:04 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:02 pm
What a misfire. It was begging to be a prestige HBO miniseries but they had to go and make a movie out of it.

It's precious affected twee vibe would work much better on tv.
THIS.

I am almost done with the novel.. which for as beautiful as it is written, often goes into tangents and drones and to me it is as impossible to adapt to a feature film akin to Haruki Murakami's longer works (1Q84 comes to mind).

But a mini-series, where you have anywhere from 6-12 hours to unpack the material, it could work. And you likely could've had a similiar cast. That being said, I would like to catch this on the big screen just for Deakins; and some of the sets and costumes look like pure eye candy, although I might seriously regret it. But it can't be worse than a 3 hour Marvel movie, can it?

As for the comment about how Ansel became a star... he is very good-looking and the camera frames his so well, the scene in 'Baby Driver' where is walking around jamming out to his iPod are the best, because there was no dialogue, just this handsome guy. However, I don't think he is a "star" in the household name sense, barely a leading man.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#23 Post by zedz » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:50 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:02 am
That's good to hear. Hopefully he and Anderson can see past whatever's between the two and they can work together again soon. Or Wilson can just find something interesting to work on outside of Anderson's films - any time he's been able to flex his acting muscle a bit, he's been fantastic in my view
If anybody aching to see Wilson do good work hasn't seen Enlightened, do so immediately. It's a weird series that digs into its weirdness, and though its focus is on Laura Dern as a shambolic force of nature, it has a great secondary cast, most of whom get episodes in which the series is reimagined with them as the focal character. Wilson plays a stereotypical Wilson slacker, but he gains more and more nuance as he goes along, and his focal episode is one of the series' best.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#24 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:11 pm

Seconded, he is fantastic in that role, and it feels very close to the bone for him.

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Re: The Goldfinch (John Crowley, 2019)

#25 Post by Brian C » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:11 am

I went to see this tonight despite all the warnings not to, and I have to say it was pretty much what I expected when I heard it was being adapted. I don't think it's bad, exactly, but I could feel the heavy burden of adapting the damn thing. With every choice the filmmakers made, I could hear the endless deliberation behind how to do it and why. The movie groans under the weight.

I agree with Never Cursed about the youth-adult flashback structure, which isn't a feature of the book, with the exception of one very major reveal that makes a lot of sense in the book but does feel like a cheap gimmick in the movie. But I'm at a loss myself as to how this material could be made to work onscreen, so I don't really fault the filmmakers for trying something out just to at least give it the appearance of shape, even if that shape doesn't quite hold up.

I think someone who hasn't read the book would be utterly baffled by the film, and it's quite possible that I'd think it was much more terrible if I hadn't. The character of Pippa is weirdly minimized here, although to be fair I think all her actual scenes from the book are in the movie. But in the book you get a better feel for why he fixates on her so much, and it's far more affecting, but in the movie she has essentially no presence so when their big scene comes, there's no reason for it to have any impact. The same is true, really, of Kitzie - all these relationships are preserved in the film but only in a very superficial way. I think if I didn't know better I'd be wondering just who the hell all these people are. For that matter, it takes half the movie for the filmmakers to even bother to tell us what happened That Day, and there's just no reason to obscure the basic narrative that way.

Even the relationship with Hobie is taken for granted, I feel. He talks some about old furniture and because he's played by Jeffrey Wright he seems like a decent dude, but we don't get any feel for him outside of that. The relationship that's given the most feeling is the one with Mrs. Barbour, and I really like the performance that Nicole Kidman gives here. But mostly the movie just feels rushed to hit a bunch of notes and check a bunch of boxes from the book and never has any time to really care about these characters.

I don't have the problem with Elgort that everyone else seems to be having. He's not exceptional but he's OK. The kid that played the young Theo, though, I thought was excellent. All I have to say about both Borises is that I never believed for a second that either actor speaks Russian.

All that said, though, the movie has some nice moments. It's gorgeous from start to finish, for one thing, but individual moments hit me also. The moment when Theo first gets to Vegas and looks up to see the water reflecting on the ceiling in his room, and it seemed so alien and even a little threatening for a second - I thought that was a nice little detail of how strange new surroundings can feel. The scene when Xandra tells Theo about his father's death while he's tripping on acid over Radiohead was a moment of very dark comic absurdity that I wish the movie had been able to duplicate more in the scenes between Theo and Boris. The first scene between Pippa and Theo was very delicately executed and makes it all the more sad that Pippa became an afterthought after that.

So, I guess the feeling I came away with is that the filmmakers did their best but weren't up to the task. I'm still unconvinced that this is a story that makes much sense for the cinema. But if I were going to take a crack at adapting it, I think instead of expanding it to a long miniseries format, I'd radically whittle the story down and focus on just a few key elements. I'm not sure which, though.

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