David Fincher is one of Hollywood’s most respected directors, but he built his career in a totally unique way. He first made a name for himself directing commercials and music videos. He famously directed the video for Madonna’s “Vogue” and George Michael’s “Freedom 90.” His first feature film was “Alien3,” which is considered mostly a disaster and which Fincher himself somewhat loathes due to studio tinkering and production issues. But then came “Se7en,” the Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman-starring serial killer movie that shattered Hollywood convention, set the groundwork for a new era of horror, and made David Fincher a known quantity.
Next came “The Game” and of course “Fight Club,” another Brad Pitt movie that made Fincher into one of the most famous directors in Hollywood. After that, Fincher made the excellent Jodie Foster home invasion thriller “Panic Room,” one of my favorite movies “Zodiac,” and then “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” followed by what I believe is truly one of the great American films of all time “The Social Network.” Since then, he’s given us more gems like “Gone Girl” and also dabbled in the TV world, helping mastermind “House of Cards” and “Mindhunter” at Netflix.
What makes Fincher so special is his meticulous nature and his intuitive sense for visual storytelling. He’s known for filming 60, 70, 80 takes of the same scene until he gets it *just right*. His movies are slick, stylized, and always immaculately lit. Maybe it’s his work in music videos or maybe he was just born with that kind of mind, but his visual template set in films like Seven, Panic Room, and The Social Network – orangey yellows and cool blues – are often imitated and never topped by his contemporaries.
Fincher’s newest movie, “The Killer,” is a cold, detached movie about a hitman for hire who must scramble to make things right after things go very wrong. It’s a movie about the impossibility of being perfect, the brutal nature of our modern world, and it continues Fincher’s lifelong fascination with the way capitalism seeps into all of our lives. It’s a tight, brutal thriller that is now streaming on Netflix. David Fincher has a long career of setting new trends in Hollywood and dazzling audiences with his technical prowess. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t stop anytime soon.