Variety‘s Justin Chang and TheWrap‘s James Rocchi are pretty much over the moon for David Fincher‘s Gone Girl (20th Century Fox, 10.3) but The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy is on one level respectful but another disappointed.

Chang: “Surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing over the course of its swift 149-minute running time, this taut yet expansive psychological thriller represents an exceptional pairing of filmmaker and material, fully expressing Fincher’s cynicism about the information age and his abiding fascination with the terror and violence lurking beneath the surfaces of contemporary American life. Graced with a mordant wit as dry and chilled as a good Chablis, as well as outstanding performances from Ben Affleck and a revelatory Rosamund Pike, [Gone Girl] should push past its preordained Oscar-contender status to galvanize the mainstream.”

Rocchi: “After the dour, sour, sadistic Scandanavian misfire of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it’s a pleasure to note that Fincher’s latest adaptation, of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel of the same name, is both wicked and wickedly fun. Not only brutal but also brutally funny, Gone Girl mixes top-notch suspenseful storytelling with the kind of razor-edged wit that slashes so quick and clean you’re still watching the blade go past before you notice you’re bleeding….[it’s] like some mix of Scenes from a Marriage and Ace in The Hole as shot by Michael Mann with a Hitchcock Blonde to kill (or die) for in the lead.”

McCarthy: “With a huge built-in audience of readers, this immaculately crafted film will give both book loyalists and general viewers a jolting good time. [But] for hardcore Fincher fanatics, however, it may be a slightly different story. His great talent is, as ever, plain to see; he gets the most out of every scene, situation and character. But in nearly all the films he made through The Social Network, you could feel him pushing himself either to the cinematic and psychological brink (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac) or into unfamiliar dramatic terrain (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, TV’s House of Cards). Dragon Tattoo and now Gone Girl show him working in a somewhat pulpier, more popular vein that, frankly, needs him more than he needs it. [At the end of the day it] leaves you with a quietly lingering feeling of ‘is that all there is?'”