Everything about Gone Girl, David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's thriller about a deteriorating marriage and a wife gone missing, is precise and thoughtful -- it's as well planned as the perfect murder, with its share of vicious, shivery delights. But at the end of the perfect murder, all you're left with is a corpse, and that's about all Gone Girl leaves you with, too. The story, as Flynn lays it out (both in her book and in the screenplay she adapted from it), is intended to be cold and perverse, a chilly bit of business exploring the ways in which men and women -- or at least this particular man and woman -- fail to communicate. But the film, while entertaining and well crafted, is too self-conscious about its depravity to be either truly disturbing or disturbingly funny.
Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, who just doesn't seem to like his wife very much, as he makes clear in the movie's opening voiceover: "I imagine cracking open her head, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers." Soon that wife (Rosamund Pike) has disappeared, and the cops treat him as a suspect. Affleck's Nick struts through the movie like an Abercrombie & Fitch caveman -- his shirts are too tight, as if they can barely contain his muscles, or his pride. Pike may not be quite as well cast -- she's so marble-smooth that her fellow actors don't so much interact with her as slide off all that polished golden surface -- but maybe her coolness works in her favor. If you've read the book, you'll probably want to know that Fincher has honored all of its significant plot points, including the ending.