'Gone Girl': Is the movie adaptation of the bestseller worth seeing?

The movie doesn't come out until Oct. 3, but many critics' reviews are already in. What do they think of the film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and adapted from Gillian Flynn's bestseller?

Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox/AP
'Gone Girl' stars Ben Affleck (center).

Anyone who read the novel “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn can tell you the story lingers in your head long after you put down the novel and that portraying the nuances of the book’s characters, Nick and Amy Dunne, will be no easy task for the actors who take it on. 

But director David Fincher seems to have captured the same haunting mood in the upcoming movie adaptation of Flynn’s book (which she adapted for the screen) and both Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are earning critical praise for their performances as Nick and Amy. The movie, which will be released on Oct. 3, has received many early rave reviews.

“Gone” currently holds a score of 81 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic and Variety critic Justin Chang called it “an exceptional pairing of filmmaker and material.” (Fincher also directed the first two episodes of the Netflix series “House of Cards,” the 2011 movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and the 2010 movie “The Social Network,” among other work.) 

“Director David Fincher and stars Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck are at the top of their game in this mesmerizing adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel,” he wrote. “[It’s an] intricate and richly satisfying adaptation… Surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing… outstanding performances from Ben Affleck and a revelatory Rosamund Pike.” 

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times was similarly wowed.

“Superbly cast from the two at the top to the smallest speaking parts, impeccably directed by Fincher and crafted by his regular team to within an inch of its life, ‘Gone Girl’ shows the remarkable things that can happen when filmmaker and material are this well matched,” he wrote. “Sticking closely to Flynn's dazzlingly complex plot and its cascade of surprises… ‘Gone Girl’ is the kind of portrait of a marriage that might have resulted if Alfred Hitchcock had watched a lot of Ingmar Bergman before getting down to work… Affleck, who's had his own personal deer-in-the-headlights moments, gets Nick's combination of arrogance and likability exactly right, and Pike… is completely his equal in a performance that defies expectations at every turn… ‘Gone Girl’s twisty plot wouldn't be as effective as it is if the casting of all the subsidiary characters weren't as good as the leads and Laray Mayfield, who has cast Fincher's films since 1999's 'Fight Club,' has done a superb job.”

And Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter called the film “sharply made, perfectly cast and unfailingly absorbing,” though he wrote that “it leaves you with a quietly lingering feeling of: ‘Is that all there is?’”

“Gone Girl show[s Fincher] working in a somewhat pulpier, more popular vein that, frankly, needs him more than he needs it,” McCarthy wrote. “Affleck, who has never been more ideally cast, delivers a beautiful balancing act of a performance… Pike… is powerful and commanding… Pike looks to have immersed herself in this… character, and the results are impressive… Great pleasures are to be found among the wonderfully chosen supporting players."

New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis was one reviewer who felt less positively toward the movie, writing that “Mr. Affleck [gives a] supple, sympathetic performance… The Nick here, like so many noir heroes, is simply, too simply, a decent, deflated, ordinary sap with serious woman problems. The same is true of this movie. At its strongest, ‘Gone Girl’ plays like a queasily, at times gleefully, funny horror movie about a modern marriage, one that has disintegrated partly because of spiraling downward mobility and lost privilege… Yet, as sometimes happens in Mr. Fincher’s work, dread descends like winter shadows, darkening the movie’s tone and visuals until it’s snuffed out all the light, air and nuance.”

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