I forgot this was a David Fincher movie! I can see his take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in this, now that I look back, but none of his other movies are reflected here.
IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS THREAD!
I don’t think I’ve liked Ben Affleck this much in anything else he’s ever done. I usually find him flat & overrated, but he’s perfect here. Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant as always, particularly the way he rides the line between charming & creepy.
And Rosamund Pike… Well, I’m not sure what to make of her. In retrospect, I suppose it’s the movie’s red herring to make her so nondescript initially. For the first half-hour or so I was somewhat disengaged, thinking “Oh, there’s the snarky bartender, here’s the couple who think they’re cleverer than everyone else, and now they’re moving to the suburbs to be boring. Yawn.” And it seemed like even the volume of Pike’s early dialogue was muted to match the authenticity of her character, but that may have just been my theater.
Then the movie proper gets going, and she finally comes into her own. I enjoyed the early red herring sightings, and about halfway through the movie even found myself reevaluating my own assumptions of who was innocent. Well played, movie.
From the time the dominoes started dropping, I found myself thoroughly engaged & enjoying just about everything except that silly, overwrought local news gal. The second interviewer, whose show is probably the biggest payoff in the whole movie (especially after the movie forces his hand at the last moment), is so good that you could probably use it to teach writers how to effectively earn & then execute scenes.
I do wish it had ended less abruptly, but I suppose the opening scene settles any questions of ambiguity people might have had. On the whole, I’d say this is one thoroughly entertaining movie, and I’d almost call it a thriller more than a mystery, even though it’s clearly inspired by that genre.