The first reviews of David Fincher's "Gone Girl" adaptation have arrived, and the praise-filled notices confirm that one key element from Gillian Flynn's source novel is unchanged: the ending.
"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," wrote Todd McCarthy in his review for The Hollywood Reporter. Justin Chang at Variety also noted that the film's denouement is "completely faithful to the novel's wrap-up."
Their words echo what Cara Buckley wrote in a New York Times feature on star Ben Affleck earlier this month: "Mr. Fincher granted The New York Times a private screening at his office. Contrary to early speculation, the film hews closely to the book."
That there was any doubt to how "Gone Girl" would finish stems from an interview Flynn, who also wrote the film's script, gave to Entertainment Weekly back in January of this year.
"Ben [Affleck, the film's star] was so shocked by it," Flynn said of her screenplay. "He would say, 'This is a whole new third act! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch.'"
Flynn walked back those comments during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session in April, calling the reports of a new finale "greatly exaggerated."
"Of course, the script has to be different from the book in some ways -- you have to find a way to externalize all those internal thoughts and you have to do more with less room and you just don't have room for everything," she wrote. "But the mood, tone and spirit of the book are very much intact."
Which doesn't mean faithful readers of Flynn's prose will find the film without twists.
"I think if you look at the trailer, there's some moments where you think, 'Wait a minute ... I know the book said this, but the trailer is taking it in a whole different direction!'" Tyler Perry, who co-stars in the film, told Vulture in August. "So David has his own way of telling the story. Whether you've read the book or not, I think it's going to surprise people."
"Gone Girl" debuts at the New York Film Festival on Friday. It opens in theaters on Oct. 3.