Have you read this novel? If you haven't, don't. DON'T. Race to the nearest picture house as if life depended on it, kicking pensioners out of the way if you must, before they come charging like a bull in a bowl shop, desperate to wreck the ending for you. 

It's not the ending you need to worry about. In predictable Hollywood fashion, the director David Fincher ('Panic Room', 'The Social Network') does that for you. The damage is limited, you can live with it.  It's every  creepy plot-twist and turn from beginning to the least obvious ending, ever, that you don't want to spoil by knowing what's coming. The movie is faithful enough to both theme and plot. Richard Hughes made me read it, about a year ago. I do as he says. 

Nothing scares me. This book did. I was too frightened to go down to the kitchen for more wine. Had to make do with just the two bottles. Imagine. Sat up all night, second-guessing, calculating, putting words into characters' mouths. I still got it wrong. I misread every principal, every motive, every outcome. Everything shocked me. Still does. What I wish, massively, is that I hadn't had the book before the film. 

So I'm not going to say too much about it. Ben Affleck as 'The Husband', Nick Dunne, is a bit chunky and surly for my taste. I had in mind someone leaner, less thuggish. Softer. 'The Wife', Amy Dunne, played by Bond beauty Rosamund Pike ('Die Another Day') is more convincing. At least they didn't give it to Keira Knightley. Handed the choice, I would have stood Reese Witherspoon in front of the lens instead of behind it - she co-directs - as it's the role that could have brought out her Meryl Streep. Where we are, we are. I'm still drooling over the lawyer (Go, Tanner!) and I still want to murder Amy's bloodsucking parents. Beyond that, I must say  that marital meltdown is a poisonous, festering bog. Gillian (hard 'G') Flynn, the author, cheerfully admits that she has zero experience of its hideousness, and yet she writes as a real-life survivor of relationship rot. This is vile imagination at its most dreadful. Can anyone ever know another truly? Even the one to whom we pledge our love and life? You don't want to know the answer to that. You know you do.

Flynn's earlier novels 'Sharp Objects' and 'Dark Places' are also movies coming soon. The former will star Cameron Diaz. Don't read those, either. Save them 'til last.