Before The Release Of Mank, We Rank Every David Fincher Film And TV Show
In a couple of months, we’ll finally see David Fincher’s first film in four years.
Mank is a black and white biographical drama about Herman J. Mankiewicz and his involvement in the making of Citizen Kane.
Before the film releases on Netflix on December 4th we’ve ranked every David Fincher film and TV show.
By the time David Fincher signed on to direct the third instalment of the Alien franchise, he was only known for directing music videos, including Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and George Michael’s ‘Freedom 90’.
It seemed like an odd move to hand the reigns of a franchise so far helmed by Ridley Scott and James Cameron to a newcomer… and it was.
This was Fincher’s only ‘bad’ film.
For a director that would end up being known for his ability to thrill, Alien 3 was remarkably boring.
The director isn’t kidding himself, though – he hated it then, and he hates it now.
In 1997, Fincher was fresh from creating a masterpiece, and just a couple of years from creating another.
The Game, however, was a bit of a misstep.
It isn’t a bad film by any stretch, but it all just seemed a bit predictable. And that just isn’t what you want from a Fincher thriller.
The entire premise is built around a ‘game’ that integrates itself into the everyday life of the participant.
You immediately assume that the game is going to get so extreme that the lines between what is real and what isn’t are going to blur.
And that’s what happens. And then the film ends.
Love, Death & Robots
The main reason Love, Death & Robots sits so low on this list is because Fincher didn’t actually direct an episode.
Instead, he served as a producer across the 18-episode first season.
The premise of the mostly-animated show is that each short episode, created in a completely different way by a different crew and cast, would use at least one of the three themes from the titles.
In general, it’s pretty great, but there are a few missteps.
We wish Fincher had directed an episode.
Panic Room is one of the few Fincher films that many of his fans look down upon somewhat, mostly because it isn’t as intelligent as his other thrillers.
The psychological theme that runs through a lot of his work is replaced by straight-up action. But it works.
Watching Jodie Foster and a young Kristen Stewart navigate a home invasion is bloody exciting, even if the plot doesn’t really take many twists and turns.
However, while it’s a fun watch, it doesn’t stay with you afterwards like many of Fincher’s classics.
The idea of Mindhunter is so exciting to me, because it sounds like the perfect show.
We get Fincher’s direction in a thriller about real serial killers that we actually get to meet? Amazing!
You expect deep, psychological storylines, an abundance of action and a clever intersection between fiction and non-fiction.
What you actually get is a lot of inane chatter and some incredibly contrived links between the things the serial killers say and the things that are happening elsewhere in the plot.
Go in with lower expectations, though, and you’ll be treated to interesting characters and truly mesmerising interactions with serial killers.
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
After a spree of intense, well-received thrillers, David Fincher shook things up somewhat and delivered a romantic fantasy film starring Brad Pitt.
The sprawling story was ambitious, but managed to do F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale about a man that ages backwards justice.
It was the proof the world needed that he wasn’t a one-trick pony, and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button ended up securing him Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.
House Of Cards
Fincher directed the first two episodes of House Of Cards, before stepping back into a producer role and allowing others to fulfil his vision.
These first two episodes were enough to convince the world that a political thriller could appeal to the masses, and as a result, Fincher’s style bleeds through all six seasons.
It’s just a bit annoying that Kevin Spacey tried to reclaim his character, Frank Underwood, in two bizarre YouTube sketches in which he claimed that the character was still alive…
Read more: Gone Girl Review
Zodiac is basically what we wish Mindhunter had been.
We’re taken on a deep journey through the psychology of a serial killer, while being exposed to (some of) the violence and action of his crimes.
It’s a little overlong, yes, and if you already know the story of the Zodiac Killer, then the ending isn’t exactly going to shock you, but it’s certainly one of the most exciting films based on real events that I’ve ever seen.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Back in the world of the psychological thriller after his brief pause to look elsewhere, Fincher released his big-screen adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in 2014.
The story of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander twists and turns around every corner, and absolutely does justice to Stieg Larsson’s 2005 novel.
I wonder if Fincher knew he was about to outdo himself with a similar film just a few years later?
Fincher’s next film was another adaptation of a successful thriller novel about a missing woman.
The 149 minutes of the two-part story of Gone Girl fly by; the mid-point twist is one of the finest in history, even if the actual ending of the film falls a little flat in comparison.
What might be even more impressive, is how Fincher managed to get Ben Affleck to deliver an acting performance that was actually quite good.
The Social Network
The Social Network took a bold look at the creation of Facebook, without shying away from its ugliest details.
Every element of the film comes together perfectly.
The story doesn’t exactly have a heavenly setting, but even so, Fincher’s eye for visuals shines through in every frame.
Jesse Eisenberg was the perfect casting to capture the repulsion of Mark Zuckerberg, while the moody score from Nine Inch Nails added a layer of otherworldly tension.
It’s no surprise that this is Quentin Tarantino’s favourite film of the decade.
It’s quite incredible that after the disaster of Alien 3, Fincher would be handed a big budget, an ambitious story and Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey for his next film.
We’re very glad it happened, though, because the end result is one of the greatest films of all time.
The slow-burn discovery of John Doe’s seven deadly sins-inspired murders and the hair-raising twist ending complement each other perfectly.
The only film that can top Seven, is Fincher’s 1999 psychological thriller, Fight Club.
At the time, the film was poorly received. It was a box-office bomb that saw many critics miss the point entirely.
Fast forward a few years, and it is eleventh on IMDb’s list of the greatest films of all time.
It’s often referred to as a ‘cult classic’, but I’d say it has moved far beyond that, becoming world-famous as one of the most interesting depictions of split-personality ever made.
Everything from the small-scale early scenes of chatter between The Narrator and Tyler Durden, up to the worldwide destruction of the film’s climax is approached by a mind that clearly knows exactly what he wants.
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