I really can’t say much about “Gone Girl” without giving major plot points away. Its trailers and long runtime make it look like another slow burning whodunnit a la Zodiac, but it breaks that mold pretty quickly. On the other end of the spectrum, reviews are praising it as a high-concept exploration of modern marriage and trust, and I honestly can’t say I saw that either.
What I saw instead was directorial alchemy — a film which really deserved to come off as a low-brow slasher/thriller, elevated by sheer talent into something mesmerizing. That same something which put lightyears between Saw and Se7en is on full display here, and while it’s hard to explain, it’s easy to experience. Fincher glides through massive narrative switchbacks with unflinching (there’s a pun in that somewhere) confidence; every one of the 149 minutes is meticulously planned and drenched in style. Affleck gives a great subdued performance, Rosamund Pike is fantastic as [censored for spoilers], and even Tyler Perry shows up wigless and ready to bring it. Some of the satire was a little obvious, my inner Jezebel flared up during a few plot reveals, and I can’t say I was always tracking the character motivations. But every criticism was short-lived and almost seemed handed to me; there’s nothing I felt which the film hadn’t already thought of. It was messy, unsettling, and unexpectedly great. Avoid spoilers.