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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Gone Girl and the mediatisation of crime

Raj Persaud talks to Professor of Journalism Brian McNair about the film 'Gone Girl' based on Brian's recent paper in 'Journalism Studies'.

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Brian is Professor of Journalism at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014) will not be remembered for its representation of

journalists, although both lead characters are, as the narrative opens in 2012, magazine

writers made redundant in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. To this extent they

personify the “death of journalism” narrative of recent years in the United States, but we

never see them in a newsroom or doing journalistic work. The marriage of Nick and Amy

Dunne (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) is cast as a victim of, among other things, the

downturn in the US economy which accompanied the credit crunch. But this is not the

subject of Gone Girl, so much as a context for the marital dysfunctionality at the heart of

its plot.


I’ve chosen it for this issue’s column, nonetheless, because Fincher’s film (and the

Gillian Flynn best-selling novel on which it is based) are very focused on the role of

contemporary news culture in the mediatization and celebrification of crime. In this sense

Gone Girl joins the ranks of that sub-genre of journalism movie which casts a critical eye on

the macro-social impact of an industry that feeds on human misery and transforms it into

popular entertainment.


Brian McNair


Also available in the new free app 'Raj Persaud in Conversation'





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