Once in a while, there comes a director who establishes their world in the vast realm of cinema. The XXI century is an era in cinematography defined by implementing new technologies in the filming, production process, and merging of different genres. Recently, we have seen an array of these kinds of directors. For example, Christopher Nolan and Wes Anderson may come to mind with their distinct directing styles.
This article will be concerned about one of the most notable contributors to XXI century cinema, David Fincher. David Fincher movies are recognizable for his directing style. A dark color palette, heavy use of shadows, and a washed-out tone instantly make David Fincher movies stand out. However, his unique camera work is not the main characteristic of his works.
David Fincher's movies are dialogue-driven and detail-oriented masterpieces that thrive due to their intricate, original plots. With his next assassin thriller movie - The Killer - just announced for release in the next two years, it is an excellent time to look over the works of the American director.
Here are the best 5 David Fincher movies ranked, a must-watch for everyone.
The Social Network
Fincher's 2010 movie The Social Network is a biographical drama that centers around the creation of Facebook. It features Jesse Eisenberg as the now-billionaire mastermind behind the platform, Mark Zuckenberg, and Andrew Garfield as co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
The movie was adapted from a 2009 book, The Accidental Billionaires.
Being one of the most well-known David Fincher movies, The Social Network focuses on the lawsuits that emerged after the alleged theft of the idea of Facebook and the dynamic relationship between two friends and co-founders.
It portrays Zuckenberg as an eccentric, self-centered and arrogant genius, absorbed by the idea of transforming the world of online networking. Unfortunately, the central dilemma between the characters arises when a determined Zuckenberg drags Saverin into the complications of creating the most successful online social media ever. It is the cause of their friendship taking a nasty turn.
Fincher outlines the unique nature of Zuckenberg's character by using carefully-crafted quirky dialogue and actions. Jesse Eisenberg delivers arguably the best depiction of the world-renown billionaire, earning himself an Oscar nomination. Andrew Garfield's trusting, naive, and more down-to-earth Saverin is an emotionally attaching performance that makes the audiences tied to their seats.
With an intricate plot, compelling characters, and three Academy Award wins, The Social Network is undoubtedly one of the must-watch David Fincher movies.
Another adaptation that became an instantly recognizable cult classic is 1999's Fight Club. It is one of the most iconic works by Fincher so far.
Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, the movie tells the story of frustrated, demoralized, and unmotivated young men who find relief in organizing a fight club. They get together to let go of their negative emotions in the most masculine way possible - hand-to-hand fighting.
The movie follows the transformation of Edward Norton - the famously unnamed narrator - from an uninteresting corporate worker to someone who has no restrictions. It centers around the inner complexities of the mind that comes with exhaustion from a routine life of an upper-classman.
Alongside Norton, there is Brad Pitt. He plays a soap salesman Tyler Durden, who embodies everything Norton's character wishes to be. Finally, Helena Bonham-Carter, who plays a mysterious love interest Marla Singer, rounds up a cast that manages to be just as memorable as the movie's premise.
Being one of the most chaotic David Fincher movies, Fight Club impresses audiences at all stages of watching the movie. Especially with its mind-bending plot twist in the end. It is a must-watch for everyone who wants to experience Fincher's ability to mix the intricacies of a single person with the anarchy that can exist in the world.
Though the movie failed to impress the critics at its release, it became one of the most talked-about films in the 2000s and earned the title of the most "defining cult movie of our time" by The New York Times.
Fight Club remains one of the best David Fincher movies, a must-watch for every movie-goer.
Zodiac is probably the film that manages to encapsulate everything. This 2007 picture is set in the late 60s and early 70s in San Francisco. It revolves around one of the most well-known serial killers in American history - the Zodiac Killer.
The movie captures the tense, terrifying atmosphere of the San Francisco Bay area, terrorized by a mysterious killer who claimed responsibility for several murders while sending letters filled with impossible ciphers to the police. The complex but perplexing environment of the setting is complemented brilliantly by Fincher's use of dark colors and shadows. It pushes the audience to feel the obscure nature of the events first-hand.
Unsurprisingly, despite the fact it is based on a true story, the audience does not need to know the full details of the infamous Zodiac case to understand the film.
The movie follows the different perspectives of characters who become haunted by the serial killer's identity. It almost forces the viewers to hold onto every detail as they become investigators of their own.
Another reason that makes Zodiac one of the greatest David Fincher movies is the individual performances of its star-filled cast. Jake Gyllenhall plays the role of a cartoonist who gets fixated on finding out the killer's identity. This causes him to go as far as it takes for his goal. Mark Ruffalo is the famous head investigator Dave Toschi, leading the police investigation. At the same time, Robert Downey Jr. does what he does best and portrays an eccentric personality of a journalist who tackles the task independently.
With the combination of his cinematographic style, a compelling story, and a brilliant cast, this is one of David Fincher's movies that successfully manages to take an iconic case to the big screen. Zodiac is a must-watch for all movie enthusiasts, granting it the spot on the quintessential David Fincher movies list.
This 2014 psychological thriller is another masterpiece driven by perspective shifts and exploration of different viewpoints only Fincher can pull off. The story follows Nick Dunne - a college professor and a failed writer, played by Ben Affleck. He is the main suspect when his wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike, mysteriously disappears.
What follows next is a thrilling investigation that manages to combine different narratives, clues found by the police in Amy's diary, flashbacks of the couple, diving into their complex relationship. This electrifying story, much like Zodiac, contains elements the audience is left to determine. The shifting perspectives provide an exciting take on what it feels like to investigate such a mysterious case.
The most elaborate one of the David Fincher movies, Gone Girl, is a must-watch for everyone who enjoys complex plots and deep characters. The blink-and-you-will-miss-it details are Fincher's favorite stylistic choice. He uses them to twist our expectations in the best ways in Gone Girl, with the actors also delivering a critically acclaimed performance.
Seven, or Se7en, is undoubtedly the darkest of the David Fincher movies. It is so appalling and frightful that not many people expected it to become part of the mainstream culture and such a classic in modern cinema. This true neo-noir crime thriller is one of the most recognized David Fincher movies that aged like fine wine.
The story's central premise is two detectives trying to catch a serial killer who chooses to use the Seven Deadly Sins as a theme in his murders. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman play young and veteran detectives that must work together to solve the mystery. This iconic duo of detectives has excellent chemistry on-screen, and their interactions feel genuine.
The mysterious nature of the killer's murders, and the duo's memorable performance, carry the movie to the third act. There we learn the identity of the killer, played by Kevin Spacey, who has one final trick up his sleeve, sparking the moral dilemma between the characters, making them choose between bad and worse.
Filled with darkness, gore, and grimness, Seven is a carefully-crafted mind-bender and is undoubtedly one of those David Fincher movies that give the audiences the chillest of chills.