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‘Gone Girl’: Fincher’s Faithful Flynn Adaptation Bewitches Critics

'Gone Girl': Fincher's Faithful Flynn Adaptation Bewitches Critics

Critics have set a high bar for the hotly buzzed “Gone Girl,” which bows at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New York Film Festival on September 26 before opening wide October 3. While the two-and-a-half hour thriller’s Oscar status remains up in the air, players Affleck and Pike and director-writer team Fincher and Flynn are all picking up praise.

Fincher seems to be returning to the hardboiled storytelling of 2007’s “Zodiac,” another long and twisty thriller where the criminal investigation is a red herring for a much darker, deeper exploration of American life.

Here’s a sampling of the chatter. Trailer below.

David Edelstein, New York Magazine: “The movie is phenomenally gripping—although it does leave you queasy, uncertain what to take away on the subject of men, women, marriage, and the possibility of intimacy from the example of such prodigiously messed-up people. Though a woman wrote the script, the male gaze dominates, and this particular male…doesn’t have much faith in appearances, particularly women’s.”

Justin Chang, Variety: “A lady vanishes and is soon presumed dead, but it’s her marriage that winds up on the autopsy table in ‘Gone Girl,’ David Fincher’s intricate and richly satisfying adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 mystery novel. Surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing over the course of its swift 149-minute running time, this taut yet expansive psychological thriller represents an exceptional pairing of filmmaker and material, fully expressing Fincher’s cynicism about the information age and his abiding fascination with the terror and violence lurking beneath the surfaces of contemporary American life.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: “In a rare instance of a novelist being permitted to adapt her own book for the screen, Flynn has done a fine job of boiling her cleverly structured story down to the essentials, doing the necessary trimming but retaining everything her fans will want to see. Despite published reports that major plot changes were being made, particularly in the third act, this simply isn’t true; it’s an extremely faithful adaptation of what is ultimately a withering critique of the dynamics of marriage.”

James Rocchi, The Wrap: “The best Hitchcock films struck a balance between elegance and violence, a peculiar mix of champagne fizz and spilled crimson blood; ‘Gone Girl,’ with its giddy revelations and grim-grin reversals incorporating ugly facts and uglier fictions, fits perfectly into a modernized version of that superb tradition.”

Michael Nordine, writing for Indiewire, is more critical: “Fincher likely prides himself on turning coal into diamonds at this point, but Flynn’s script can feel so retrograde at times that one wonders whether it might have been better served by a De Palma, Bigelow, or even a Verhoeven — which is to say, a filmmaker less concerned with making the lascivious seem prestigious. (It’s doubtful anyone else could have filmed a certain blood-soaked scene with such unsettling verve, however.)”

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