This review contains some fairly serious SPOILERS.
Before I get to talking about this excellent film, which I liked very much, I suppose I have to address the thing that must be addressed, namely the apparent misogyny.
Had this movie been released 20 or even 10 years ago, I suspect nobody would have said anything. But in echo chamber of the internet, a movie like this is going to be misunderstood and no doubt roundly criticized for its portrayal of its central character. Let me just say right off the bat that I think accusations of misogyny miss the mark here. And here’s where the spoilers come in!
The genre of the crazed woman destroying a man’s wife has been around a really long time, film-wise, even though we might date it back only to Fatal Attraction in terms of the sheer craziness of the lead female. (But if you watch classic film noir, you’ll see that’s not really true.) That’s not to legitimize what is a rather misogynistic subgenre, but I do mean to point out that there is a rather long tradition of these types of movies, and they are usually not very clever.
To even throw this film into those categories completely overlooks its effectiveness as a mystery and its effectiveness as a satire of the “missing blonde woman” obsessions of the 24-hour News Media. And, frankly, I find the film very good as both a mystery and a satire of media. It’s far from Fincher’s best film, but it once again shows off his rather incredible ability to take what could be pretty weak material – given the multiple twists – and not only make it work as a mystery, but to add another dimension – or preserve it, if the media satire was in the novel, which we might assume it was.
Very entertaining and well worth seeing.