(David Fincher, 2014)
Something in the caustic, blistering satire of Gillian Flynn's novel is beautifully suited to Fincher's gifts; this film is slick and dark and funny and utterly entertaining and something about it feels effortless.
It has a pleasing ambivalence about each of its characters - Affleck nicely plays his protagonist, Nick Dunne, as variously a schmuck, a cheat, a bore, and a smug yuppie. The structure means that we partly see him through the eyes of the titular girl, his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), as she recounts their meet-cute and perfect courtship in her diary, and partly as he suffers through the aftermath of her disappearance, when he is demonised by the media and becomes hunted and paranoid. As such, he is sympathetic - Affleck remains a charming presence - but is believably flawed and human. Amy is similarly complex, and Pike doesn't shy away from portraying her spoiled little rich girl vanity alongside her wit and intelligence. The supporting cast is just as richly populated with nuance and authentic tics - Carrie Coon and Kim Dickens play perhaps the two strongest characters as, respectively, Nick's twin sister and the detective working the case, both of whom seem cynical about everything the world throws at them.
Fincher textures the whole thing with that beautiful darkness he can sprinkle throughout a film. Here it is suburbia that is depicted with a clinical detachment, its dark corners illuminated by his camera, and the final act reveals this film as a devastating and hilarious critique of modern marriage, slickly hidden inside a twisty thriller, and drolly entertaining throughout.