A Pattern in the Filmography of David Fincher (Part 1 of 3)

I finally saw David Fincher‘s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yesterday. I am not surprised that I didn’t like it (check my Twitter for my thoughts at https://twitter.com/#!/EvilDrBok). You see, with Fincher, one can see a certain pattern with his films. He seems to be moving at a pendulum. Sometimes he makes decent films. Other times, he just sucks eggs. Still don’t know what I mean? Read on, you of little faith!

 

David Fincher Rims a Beloved Franchise (and atones for his Deadly Sins)

Fincher got his break from directing music videos with Alien 3. Despite the interesting premise of having the characters fight the deadly xenomorph  without the aid of futuristic technology, it just didn’t work, story-wise and direction-wise. Plus, Fincher’s directorial flair was still raw. It seems like he’s still playing around with what he can do. Overall, Alien 3 just wasn’t a good film to begin with, but that’s okay, considering that this is his first film.

His second film is the one that put him in the map, Se7en. This is one uncompromisingly bleak film which featured strong performances from Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. Fincher shoots most of the scenes in rain, showing the cold, wet, and gritty environment that our protagonists have to work in to capture a serial killer who patterns his killings after the Seven Deadly Sins. Additionally, the ending is one of the most powerful, most uncompromising, and most devastating defeat ever caught on film. Sure, Freeman and Pitt are able to put a stop to the killings, but at the cost of pretty Gwyneth Paltrow’s head. Still, the scene was consistent with the theme of the film. This is definitely David Fincher’s magnum opus. Not bad for a sophomore effort.

Your Companions Aren’t What They Say They Are (post-sophomore efforts)

Fincher continued with the Michael Douglas thriller The Game. Admittedly, while the film is visually interesting (typical of a Fincher production), this thriller falls short in the story department. The experience watching the film was unbelievably frustrating for me because this film showed so much promise. The idea of being the subject of a joke amongst peers is frustrating enough. Imagine, however, if this showed goes beyond your house, your city, and your state. Imagine if every single person in your life, family included, was part of this elaborate “game” that you no longer want to be a part of. Unfortunately,  because you signed a damn contract, you have to play through it.

That was an interesting premise, and that became the film’s downfall. I believe the writers weren’t able to find a satisfactory way to resolve the conflict so they came up with an overly complicated, almost contrived, resolution that has the mark of “douche” ex machina written all over it. This could have been a great Fincher film. The writers just got lazy.

Fincher, once more, redeemed for past sins in the cinema by coming up with the initially panned, but now critically lauded Fight Club, starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. Norton is an insomniac employee in an automobile company, and Pitt is THE Tyler Durden… or is he? Together, these two angry men form a new therapeutic group called Fight Club, who then attracts men of various background. Under the leadership of “Tyler”, the group set out to wreak havoc against their consumeristic society, eventually leading to the planning of Project Mayhem, an act of terrorism aimed at crippling the economy, thus fulfilling Tyler’s dream of a world going back to basics.

With Fight Club, Fincher continues to wow us with his visual flair. The film has an undercurrent of green in its color scheme to show how “reality” for the Narrator (Norton) isn’t what it seems. That, and brilliant existentialist tones of the film shows us that Fincher isn’t just another Hollywood director concerned with the paycheck: we have here an artist who will tell a story with his own distinct artistic style.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

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3 thoughts on “A Pattern in the Filmography of David Fincher (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Pingback: 5 Things We Didn’t Know David Fincher Directed « pop judgment

  2. Pingback: Punching is manly, or, ‘Imaginary friends often lead to huge explosions.’ | ThePageBoy

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