David Fincher became beloved because of his attention to detail, methodical and rhythmic narration, color compositions that respond to the style of each film and the -acquired- freedom in the final cut of his films. This is about the technical part, since for the average viewer things are simpler: the signature of the great American director is synonymous with a cinema that gives unforgettable moments. Can anyone ever forget the final scene from ‘Seven’?
This year, he’s back with a new thriller in which a hitman himself becomes the prey instead of the hunter – only he’s determined not to give up. On the occasion of “The Killer”, we return to some of David Fincher’s strongest: From “Seven” to “Gone Girl”, this is a list that will not leave any of his fans complaining.
Fight Club (1999)
In one of the most influential films to come out before the turn of the millennium, the first rule is not to talk about ‘Fight Club’. But Fincher has made millennials unable to shut up about this anarchist masterpiece. Tyler Durden is the embodiment of our secret rage against institutions, but also a psychopathic troublemaker, with views so dangerous that along with democracy, all vestiges of humanity will be destroyed. What many of the film’s detractors, who have labeled it toxic masculinity, failed to understand is that Fincher has directed an extremely well-written satire about our shaky foundations, our attachment to normality, the inevitable consequences of capitalism, the mental illness, or even the power of love, offering a landmark film. But also a jaw-dropping one-liner that went down in history, under the musical backing of the Pixies. Somehow, the phrase “Where is my mind?” marked an era. (On Netflix)
In a nondescript, crime-ridden city that does nothing but rain, Fincher follows Andrew Kevin Walker’s diabolical script, delivering his darkest work early in his career. (Perhaps also in response to the lukewarm reception of “Alien 3”, which he had completed three years earlier). While two detectives follow the trail of a killer who wants to punish humanity by killing in imaginative ways seven victims who have committed equally deadly sins, we watch with bated breath the descent into hell of pure, good cop David Mills – a character whose involvement in the case comes with shocking consequences. The film, due to the unorthodox twist at the end, was not easily digested by the American audience accustomed to happy endings in 1995, but it was later recognized by occupying a prominent place on the podium with the top crime thrillers of the last decades. A great marriage of script and direction that ends with Ernest Hemingway’s great line, “The world is a wonderful place and worth fighting for.” “I only agree with the second,” paraphrases the old and now desperate detective William Somerset. (Rentable on Apple TV)
If “Seven” lacks a happy ending, “Zodiac” lacks any catharsis: While we watch San Francisco sink into terror from the murders of a maniacal killer who calls himself the Zodiac, evil lurks and threatens through information: the perpetrator sends coded messages to the widely circulated San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. Fincher once again presents himself as a heretic: we are not so much interested in who did what he did, but how he managed to shock on an individual level, on the one hand, the detective to whom the case is assigned, the cartoonist who works for the newspaper and starts obsessively to look for him through the messages, and the journalist who destroys himself day by day. This is what concerns the individual level, while at the collective level we are watching an entire society that does not manage to calm down while the case is in the news. Perhaps the scariest element of ‘Zodiac’? The fact that the years pass, and, like so many things in life eventually, the last word hangs somewhere in the atmosphere, unable to be spoken – redemption never really comes. (On Netflix)
The Social Network (2010)
This is where Fincher shifts gears: He’s not concerned with cold-blooded killers or psychotic anarchists, he doesn’t want to scare or provoke, not on the first level anyway. But perhaps on another level, Mark Zuckerberg’s deeply troubled character is shadowier than the more demonic “villains” Fincher has accustomed us to. In a highly influential biopic (but winking at the thriller genre), the director delivers the controversial Facebook founder’s legal battle with Eduardo Saverin over the copyrights of the popular social network. It’s also worth noting that Fincher managed to piss off the real Zuckerberg – but who cares about the latter’s feelings? In any case, “The Social Network” reads (and does) as a brilliantly dark satire about a bitter geek who, having no friends, decides to buy them. (Rentable on Apple TV)
Gone Girl (2014)
From Gillian Flynn’s gripping thriller to one of the most successful adaptations to the big screen, ‘Gone Girl’ captures us from the first minute and doesn’t let us catch our breath until we find out what happened to Amy Dunne: she was killed by her husband , as all evidence points to, or is another, darker scenario at play? It could be a classic whodunnit, but how much fun would that be? Perhaps, one would classify it as mainstream, superficial enjoyment, but if one looks past the charming, successful and irrevocably psychopathic Dunne, one will discover a brilliant study in the gender roles and social imperatives imposed on us by the world in which we live. All you have to do is dig a little deeper and you will realize that the couple’s cannibalistic behavior is an extreme illustration of what happens when we fall in love and are then inevitably called upon to deconstruct our other half. (On Netflix)
The trailer for David Fincher’s new film: