David Fincher Movie Reviews
The Career of David Fincher
David Fincher is one of the most creative and daring movie directors in Hollywood today. His movies are usually thrillers with their own unique style.
His film career started in 1980 with International Light & Magic (ILM), working on movies like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, before he left to begin filming TV commercials and music videos.
Commercials and Music Videos
Although on a much smaller scale, David Fincher's commercials and videos feature the same dark vibe and edge his films have become known for.
One particular commercial for the American Cancer Society showed a fetus smoking a cigarette, which for good reason, attracted attention to the young director.
He has shot videos for some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Madonna, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul and Aerosmith, amongst others.
A Different Breed of Director
David Fincher has developed a reputation as a renegade director, often clashing with actors as well the studios producing his films while demanding high-budget productions.
It is for that reason that the creativity and originality of his movies often remain intact and unique compared to other films in the same genre.
Brad Pitt has appeared in three different Fincher films and the actor is said to have loved working with the director.
David Fincher Films
This is the complete and current list of David Fincher films, along with personal reviews for each movie:
Alien 3 on Blu-Ray and DVD
Tagline: It's back.
Alien 3 takes place immediately following the events of Aliens, the second movie in the sci-fi horror series. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crash lands on an industrial planet that is home to a correctional facility that allows no guns or weapons. It is later discovered that an alien stowaway was on her escape pod. One thing leads to another and the alien hatches and begins to wreak havoc on the planet and the prisoners stranded there.
To be honest, I don't recall much of the original Alien or Aliens movies. Bill Paxton was in one of them, I think. However, I do remember seeing Alien 3 and thinking it had some of the more cool camerawork and effects I had seen at the time. The dark setting of the prison facility and the impending doom played well off of each other, thanks to the lighting from David Fincher. He does well in making the aliens as terrifying as the creatures you'd seen earlier in the series from James Cameron and Ridley Scott. - 2.5/5 Stars
Se7en on Blu-Ray and DVD
Tagline: Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.
The plot of Seven revolves around two homicide detectives (Morgan Freeman & BradPitt) investigating a series of killings based off the Seven Deadly Sins from the Bible. The serial killer, only known as "John Doe" (Kevin Spacey) torments both detectives and preaches about the degradation of society, believing his killings might be a wake-up call to the sorry state of humanity.
Seven can be a bit grizzly at times, and it isn't for the faint of heart, but if you like a good detective movie, you won't find many better. Shot in the style of Cops, Fincher takes you into the world of the investigation and the lives of the all those involved. Each murder leads up to the chilling ending and one of the more intense scenes in Hollywood history. - 4/5 Stars
Michael Douglas in The Game
Tagline: What do you get for the man who has everything?
In The Game, a lonely San Francisco Banker (Michael Douglas) receives a card for his 48th birthday from his brother (Sean Penn) that gains him entry to an entertainment company called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). From there, the film twists and turns to unexpected directions and a thrilling conclusion that has to be seen and not explained.
As mentioned above, it's hard to talk to much about The Game without giving too much away. David Fincher leaves you guessing at every turn until the ending simply cannot come soon enough ... in a good way - 3/5 Stars
Fight Club on Blu-Ray and DVD
Tagline: Mischief. Mayhem. Soap.
Edward Norton stars in Fight Club as an insomniac beat down by consumerism and the shallowness of not only his life and its worth, but society's as well. On a business trip for his dead-end job, his life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a "single-serving friend" with an entirely different outlook on the world.
The two develop a friendship and an underground form of masculine therapy known as "Fight Club." Soon Fight Club reaches the streets and new scopes and their union and reality begins to spiral out of control.
Fight Club is possibly one of the best movies ever made. How is that for a review? Both Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are perfect, as is Helena Bonham Carter in a supporting role. The directing, camerawork and special effects from David Fincher are all fantastic. Fight Club is a movie that will stick with you long after you watch it and is worth a second, third, fourth or 50th view - 5/5 Stars
Panic Room on DVD
Tagline: It was supposed to be the safest room in the house.
The movie centers around Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) who buy a mansion in New York that has a built-in "panic room." Essentially a panic room is a secured, safe room in a home or building impenetrable from the outside. During a break in at their home, the Altmans run to the panic room narrowly averting the burglars. However, they soon come to find that what the men want was in the panic room all along and they will stop at nothing to get inside.
At face value, Panic Room is a pretty good thriller. There are a few moments of suspense along with some exciting angles and camerawork from Fincher. I personally had a problem finding the burglars (Jared Leto, Forrest Whitaker) menacing, which took away from the sense of desperation. In the case of Panic Room, it may just be that David Fincher is a victim of his own success, and while the film is better than most, it pales in comparison to some of his others - 2.5/5 Stars
Zodiac on Blu-Ray and DVD
Tagline: There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer.
Based off of true events in the 1970s as well as the book by Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the film), Zodiac retells the story of a serial killer in the San Francisco Bay area that went on a murder spree while toying with local detectives and reporters by using coded messages and antics to taunt them during their investigation.
Eventually all involved in the case become obsessed with or ruined by the hunt for the Zodiac killer, particularly San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Junior) and homicide detective David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo).
Personally, I really enjoyed Zodiac . It seemed like this movie came and went from theaters with little fan fare or attention from critics or customers, despite it being close to a true version of Seven . RDJ had his best performance in a decade, and possibly began his comeback with the film.
I remember a stretch from maybe 2004 to 2008 where almost no good movies came out and thinking that Zodiac may have been the best in that time. David Fincher goes beyond extremes to retell every painful detail of the killings and ensure the film is based only on fact and not fantasy. For me, it's a must-see - 3.5/5 Stars
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Tagline: Life isn't measured in minutes, but in moments.
Curious indeed. The movie tells the story of Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), a boy born as a man who ages backwards. Fortunately for Benjamin, he is raised in a senior home so he fits in with residents, despite being 60 to 70 years younger. The film depicts the meaningful events in his life, including his time in WWII and meeting the love of his life, Daisy (Cate Blanchett). Their lives intersect throughout the film until they meet in the middle and fall madly in love with each other. However, all good things must come to an end as the two continue to age in different directions.
Of all of David Fincher's films, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button received the most critical acclaim and earned the director his first Academy Award nomination. I personally thought, while not his best, it was the best film of the year and deserving of all the accolades. Brad Pitt gave one of the best performances of his career, along with Cate Blanchett.
David Fincher put some of his own cool touches on it with a few cutaway scenes involving a lightning strike victim and the story of a the construction of a train station clock, not to mention the effects of Pitt aging backwards. All in all, it is a movie that needs to be seen at least once, but twice might be better - 4/5 Stars
The Social Network
The Social Network
Tagline: You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.
Otherwise known as "The Facebook Movie," The Social Network is based on the story of the creation and founding of the world's most popular website. In the movie, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenburg) programs the code to run a social network for students at Harvard, the only problem is, he just may have stole it from someone else.
Eventually the site spreads across the country and Zuckerberg and his friends gain fame and notoriety. Told from multiple view points, this David Fincher movie is a tale of intertwined stories from friends, enemies and court opponents of Zuckerberg during the early years of the cultural phenomenon, Facebook.
The Social Network was if not the best, the second best film of 2010, behind only Inception . With a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing , The Social Network has some of the best dialogue in a movie since Pulp Fiction . If I had a gripe, and I don't have many, it would be the casting of Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker. While I'm sure it helped David Fincher sell a few more tickets, to me it took away from some of the real actors on screen. Overall, I would highly recommend the movie, though - 4/5 Stars
My Top 5 David Fincher Films:
- The Social Network
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Fight Club