David Fincher has become the master of the mystery film genre, especially when it comes to crime mystery. Starting his career making music videos for some of the biggest stars of the 80’s and 90’s for artists like Madonna, Aerosmith and Michael Jackson. And while he did continue to make music videos after making his directorial film debut, but has since made his place in Hollywood and became a director that gets audiences anticipated for their next installment. His current development is the film Mank, the story of Herman J. Mankiewicz and his screenplay of the infamous 1941 film Citizen Kane. While we wait for the highly anticipated next film, lets first take a look at David Finchers filmography, the highs and the lows.
10. Alien3 (1992)
Finchers first film, was unfortunately lack luster. The third installment of the Alien franchise after the success of Alien in 1979 by Ridley Scott and the equally excellent Aliens in 1986 directed by James Cameron. Sigourney Weaver returns as the film picks up right after the events of Aliens with Ellen Ripley and survivors on their voyage back home, but when she wakes up the survivors are dead from an embryonic alien on the ship. Her ship crashes on a prison planet with a religious cult made of murders and rapists, as well as an alien that has grown into a new deadly form. While the film had a lot of exciting ideas to bring into the franchise, it is widely regarded as the beginning of the end for the Alien series. Much of Finchers direction is on display, but it’s the story and script that causes it not to completely work. However, the film was still given an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects and still manages to hold up considering everything that came after it.
9. The Game (1997)
Finchers third film, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas) is a wealthy stuck up investment banker who lives a luxurious lifestyle. On his 48th birthday his brother Conrad (Penn) comes into town to offer him a gift. A ticket to CRS (Consumer Recreation Services), a company that constructs games for people given them “whatever is lacking”. Just then, Nicholas’s life begin to fall apart as a series of elaborate but harmless pranks turn cruel and deadly. Nicholas loses his financial resources and begins to lose trust in everyone around him, and believes the CRS is up to much more than just playing a game. This film has been considered underrated, since it was released between Finchers other two amazing films Fight Club and Se7en. It is still a very entertaining and intense film that had amazing cinematography and one of Michael Douglas’s best performance, the fact that Douglas didn’t receive at least an Oscar nomination is a crime within itself.
8. Panic Room (2002)
The fifth film by Fincher, starring Jodie Foster and Forest Whittaker, as well as the acting debut of Kirsten Stewart. Recently divorced Meg Altman (Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Stewart) move to New York, as they tour their new home they discover a panic room so secure no one can get in it. One night three burglars break into the house, forcing Meg and her daughter to enter the panic room. But they realize the money the burglars are after are also inside the room. With the criminals knowing where she is and her diabetic daughter suffering from low blood sugar, Meg must figure out how to escape or suffer the fate of confronting the burglars. Keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole movie, Fincher also does an incredible job of rounding out his villains. The film also features some of the most amazing visual effects for its time, maneuvering the camera in areas you wouldn’t think possible and causing audiences to debate how they pulled off some scenes.
7. The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
The ninth film by Fincher, starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer. Based on the Swedish novel by Stieg Larson, Mikal Blomkvist (Craig) is a disgraced journalist who is hired by Henrik Vanger (Plummer) to investigate a murder of his niece from forty years ago. Blomkvist hires a computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander who does some digging on Vanger and his past to reveal dark and violent secrets. Another underrated film by Fincher, the story and acting suck you into a world that keep audiences invested. The incredible shots of the dark and eerie landscapes combined with the editing and score by Trent Renzo and Atticus Ross makes for a creepy but compelling film. Fincher also follows up his tradition of creating twisted ending that might shock or disappoint some viewers. It’s unfortunate this film did not perform as well as some of Finchers other movies, since this is the beginning of the what was intended to be a trilogy that we most likely will never see.
6. Se7en (1996)
Finchers second film, starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey. Detective Mills (Pitt) and Detective Somerset both work for the homicide unit and are tasked to investigate a murder. What they discover is they have a serial killer on their hands who relates his murder to the seven deadly sins, the first being gluttony. Both detectives come with different methods and perspectives though, while Somerset comes off more experienced but jaded, Mills is a fresh face that is bright and impulsive. However, they must use both of their ideas and skills to hunt down a serial killer only known as John Doe played by Kevin Spacey. At the time of this films release, many people were not impressed of the film due to the gory and disturbing nature. Surprisingly, those reasons are what made the film once of the most influential today. Coming off of the failure Alien3, Fincher redeemed himself in this crime thriller and start his reign of making some of the best crime films.
5. Fight Club (1999)
The forth film by director David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt once again and Edward Norton. Norton plays a character only referred to as The Narrator, as he tells a story about his emotional and insomnia riddled life. While attending a support group he meets Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) who makes his life a bit easier, but it’s all trashed when he also meets Tyler (Pitt). The Narrator gets sucked in by Tyler in this world of underground an underground fight club and making soap. The two engage in a competitive rivalry that leads to a reveal, exposing that Tyler isn’t exactly who he says he is. Once again, Fincher makes a movie that polarizes critic and audiences with another crime driven drama. While the story is one of the best in a film, one of those movies you have to pay attention to and possibly even watch it again that gives you an entirely different experience the second time. However, its most memorable aspect comes from the incredible performances of Pitt and Norton. Oddly enough, this film only received one Oscar nomination for Best Sound Effects.
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
The most recent film that paired Fincher with Brad Pitt again, this time with Cate Blanchett for the director’s seventh entry. Beginning in the modern day, Daisy Williams (Blanchett) lays in a hospital on the brink of death. She asks her daughter to read a diary Daisy has kept from her friend Benjamin Button (Pitt), recounting his extraordinary life and this strange disease. Buttons story picks up on the day he is born as an old man, and continues on explaining his curious case of aging backwards. Being born as an old man and moving in reverse, instead of getting older Benjamin Button ages younger. The story goes into further detail of Button meeting Daisy and the hardship, love and comradery they held together. Taking a step back from what we are adapted to when we see a Fincher film, no dark material, no serial killers, but instead an emotional and heartwarming story. It garnered thirteen Oscar nominations including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture. Managing to pick up three of the thirteen for Art Direction, Make Up and Visual Effects.
3, Zodiac (2007)
Finchers sixth film that brought together Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. Based on a true story about cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal) and journalist Paul Avery (Downey Jr.) working together with Detective David Toschi (Ruffalo) as they investigate the infamous killer Zodiac. Graysmith becomes more and more invested in the letters the Zodiac continues to send them and attempting to decipher his code, as well as becoming obsessed with Zodiac while all three characters’ lives begin to spiral out of control. For those who might not know, real crimes took place in the 60’s and 70’s committed by a man known only as Zodiac and to this day as yet to be caught. Finchers attention to detail in his film is astounding, recreating moments from the documents left behind by the killer. Which is what makes this film so much more terrifying than Finchers other work. Creating these scenes that seem so real, you often question if you are even still watching a movie.
2. Gone Girl (2014)
The tenth film by Fincher based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, that stars Ben Affleck as Nick Dunn and Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunn. Nick Dunn lives in a marriage that seems to be on a decline, but one day when he comes home he finds her missing. After Nick speaks with authorities to try and find his wife, much of the evidence surrounding her disappearance begin to point towards Nick as a suspect. As Nick tries to prove his innocence though, more evidence continues to appear that makes Nick seem like he might have killed his wife. However, evidence arrives proving that Nick didn’t kill his wife. Putting audiences in limbo, trying to figure out if Nick is guilty or not until the truth is revealed. Once again, Fincher proves he is the master of crime thrillers as he makes this film feel as if he is guiding viewers down a tunnel that doesn’t have a light at the end, but instead continues to get darker and darker. The film has since been one of Finchers highest reviewed movies, as well as earning Rosamund Pike a Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
1. The Social Network (2010)
The top pick for our list comes from David Finchers eighth film that brings together young actors Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. Telling the story of Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) and the battle he faced by many over the media sensation Facebook. Exploring the breakthrough and downfall he faced with his friend Eduardo Saverin (Garfield), the legal battle against the Winklevoss Brothers and the merger with Napster founder Sean Parker (Timberlake). When I say “young actors” its because at the time of this movies release, many of the actors I mentioned were not the stars they are today but this is the film that did it for them. At the time, the most famous actor in it was Justin Timberlake and he was known for his music. But each of these actors give the best preformances of their lives, it will be difficult for them to ever create something better than this because they truly give it everything they got. The film received eight Oscar nominations including Eisenberg for Best Actor, Fincher for Best Director and Best Picture. Agreeably, the film took home three wins for Film Editing, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.
David Fincher is one of the most respected directors working in Hollywood, anything he makes will always be a source of controversy and pleasure as he crafts some of the most interesting and thought provoking films of our generation. His films will continue to be some of the most memorable and often refered too when it comes to some of the greatest films of all time. When researching his film on iMDb, at the bottom of some film pages there will often be other films the site recommends that have the same type of story or actors in it. When you look at that section for Finchers movies, they only give you other movies that are not related to his film but instead are some of the best films ever made.