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The Story of David Fincher
December 17, 2022
To kick off the monthly Filmmaker for the year, I decided to begin with a director that I found myself especially attached to when I first started reviewing movies. His directing style always called to me as one that emphasizes aesthetic through a captivating score and increasing suspense. David Fincher has been creating movies since the 1990s, with his directorial debut Alien 3 (1992) making $150 million at the box office worldwide. However, he truly found success with his sophomore film Se7en (1995), an adaptation of Andrew Kevin Walker’s original screenplay starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. The film was a massive success, and it established Fincher as someone who could direct gritty, mind-bending, psychologically horrifying films, which he proved once more with The Game (1997) and Fight Club (1999), with the latter not being a box office hit, but still gaining a cult following that keeps growing to this day.
Fincher’s work is the perfect introduction to the world of film, being modern but incorporating a careful use of filmmaking basics. His work is especially great for this time of year, so I suggest watching his movies before Halloween comes and goes!
After the 90s, Fincher found himself directing movies that broadened his horizons to include psychological thrillers, biographical pieces, and romance films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010), and Zodiac (2007), all with star-studded casts that included Brad Pitt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Jesse Eisenberg. He also directed more television shows as the 2010s began such as some episodes of House of Cards, the Netflix crime show Mindhunter, and the animated sci-fi anthology series Love, Death, and Robots. A highlight of his works is that he typically collaborates with composer Trent Reznor of industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Reznor typically has deep, electronic elements in his work, which serves Fincher’s style well as it builds suspense carefully and is the perfect addition to Fincher’s tightly-directed scenes. If you’re looking for a scary Halloween vibe in your movies for the month, I recommend starting with Se7en. It’s easy-to-digest, super tense, and it has a cast so famous you’d be surprised they could all be corralled into a movie together. Obviously, you’d have to follow it with a viewing of Fight Club to experience more of the grimy, gritty vibe that Se7en brings. To switch it up a bit, The Social Network (2010) is a perfect addition to your watchlist. Its score is some of Reznor’s best work, Andrew Garfield’s performance is absolutely amazing, and Fincher’s back-and-forth pacing between the past and present is executed masterfully.