David Fincher put together a masterpiece that barely deserved it in the action-thriller, Gone Girl, based on the third Gillian Fylnn novel and the one that put her particular concoction of broken women and disturbed mysteries to the mainstream.

Gone Girl is a largely sleazy story brought to life with the combination of talented direction and a AAA budget. Did Gone Girl deserve David Fincher? Maybe, but it isn’t hard to see how the film could have easily been a mess in the hands of a less talented team. Only look as far as 2015’s Dark Places, based on the Gillian Flynn book, starring Charlize Theron, to see how a much-diminished budget and a hackneyed director could turn a thought-provoking mystery into shovelpile.

What we have is Ben Affleck playing regular man, hardly helping or hurting the material at hand. He is outshined by a riveting and unsettling performance from Rosamund Pike. The two have chemistry in all the wrong places, and though the lead performances are overall good, it is an example of the written material pushing the film to much higher heights. If you ever needed to see the power of a great screenplay at work and its significance in the quality of acting and in the film, look no further than Gone Girl.

The film is incredibly accurate to the novel (Just to clarify, yes, I read both), so the core story remains perfectly intact.  But, it should be seen as its own thing, and David Fincher is not interested in making Mcdonald’s cheeseburgers in what could have more easily been a solid and exciting mystery romp. He helps weave an unprecedented tale, an example of how all the pieces of a film culminate in something incredible.