The guys from JumpCut UK – Nick and Jakob, and myself would like to introduce to you our new feature – Movie Chat: Top 10s. On the first Wednesday of each month, we are going to bring you a different Top 10 list from the world of film. To kick us off, we opted to rank the efforts of a director we are all mutual fans of – David Fincher. With a handy 10 films under his belt, Fincher seems a great place to start so please read on to find out how we have ranked his films. Please let us know your Top 10 lists too!
‘ALIEN3‘ was the feature film debut of David Fincher. The film continues to tell the story begun by Ridley Scott in ‘Alien’ and James Cameron in ‘Aliens’. This was no doubt a daunting task for first time director Fincher to have to follow on from these very popular films. Fincher has since disowned the film for numerous reasons and the film doesn’t rate very highly amongst fans. It certainly doesn’t live up to the standard that Fincher would go on to produce, explaining why it’s rock bottom of our list. Despite this placing we still think that the film is made out to be worse than it really is and think it can be enjoyed as part of a trilogy.
Coming off the back of the success of ‘Se7en’ two years earlier, David Fincher was finally given the creative freedom he craved in the director’s seat with 1997’s ‘The Game’. An interesting plot, a great cast (led by Michael Douglas) and the opportunity to work on a project without the pressure of studio interference ultimately wasn’t as successful as Fincher, and we, had hoped. Unfortunately, ‘The Game’ suffered from a somewhat lacklustre final act and an uncharacteristically disappointing twist, leaving it at the less impressive end of Fincher’s spectrum of work.
Check out a review of ‘The Game’ over at JumpCut UK here
A promising but albeit limited plot is undone by its characterisation. Frustrating protagonists find themselves under attack by a trio of bubbling fools in this linear, cat and mouse film. Acting wise, it’s not too bad, it’s just a shame that the characters are so stereotyped and exasperating which means that ‘Panic Room’ is not a film that should find itself too high up Fincher’s list of films.
Check out a review of ‘Panic Room’ over at JumpCut UK here
For a further opinion you can read a review of ‘Panic Room’ from HCMovieReviews here
At number 7 we find a Fincher film that film doesn’t focus on Aliens, serial killers or psychopaths. Instead what ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ does boast is a wonderfully bizarre concept of a man (Brad Pitt) who ages in reverse. Not the first collaboration with Pitt for Fincher but on this list his least popular one. Taking nothing away from the film though as it was nominated for 13 academy awards and it received positive reviews upon its release. It’s an enjoyable watch and a genuinely well written and directed romance story which is refreshing to stay the least. Furthermore with fantastic performances from Pitt and Cate Blanchett it’s a joy to watch but when we think of Fincher’s best films it isn’t amongst the first that come to mind.
Fincher’s background of directing commercials for huge, global businesses was put to great use when he took on the story of Facebook, for ‘The Social Network’. Unlike anything Fincher had done before, in terms of genre at least, one could be forgiven for doubting this project, but this is actually one of Fincher’s most successful and intelligent works. With the help of a brilliant script from Aaron Sorkin (albeit an embellishment of the truth in places), outstanding acting displays and the familiar, Fincher aesthetics we love, ‘The Social Network’ is a film that proves just how adept and versatile this great director is.
Check out a review of ‘The Social Network’ over at JumpCut UK here
Two years after the critically acclaimed Swedish version of the film was released in cinemas came Fincher’s English-language version of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. The film boasts a grim and dark tone throughout which contributes greatly to the atmosphere of this thriller. The performances are powerful and presented challenges to the actors as there are some very challenging scenes to perform here. Whilst not as iconic as some of Fincher’s other thrillers The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo showcases Fincher’s directing skills well and only highlights the strength of his filmography as it places only at number 5 despite being a brilliant film!
Fincher loves to delve deep into the world of the deranged and ‘Zodiac’ is another fine effort in a genre that is becoming more and more popular in TV and film. Gyllenhaal, Downey Jnr and Ruffalo star in this true to life crime-thriller about the search for the infamous Zodiac killer. Whilst this film unnerves and shocks, it’s also guilty of being rather slow in places meaning it doesn’t quite break into Fincher’s top three works. Nevertheless, this is still a wonderfully twisted and enjoyable film.
#3. Gone Girl (2014)
Fincher’s most recent project, ‘Gone Girl’, is right up there with the best of his work, and is arguably one of the best films of 2014. Whilst Ben Affleck gives a good performance here, he is completely outclassed by one of the most thrilling and dark performances of recent years, from the fantastic Rosamund Pike; a display which could singlehandedly turn any film into a hit. Alongside this, there’s the usual Fincher affinity with twists and turns which allows for an enthralling narrative development, as well as some impeccable cinematography which will leave a lasting effect on any viewer.
Check out a review of ‘Gone Girl’ over at JumpCut UK here
#2. Fight Club (1999)
So we’re just about to break rules 1 & 2 of ‘Fight Club’ but we love talking about this film! Fincher’s second collaboration with Brad Pitt, is a film many would choose as their top Fincher film or just their favourite film in general. We think there is one better than it but ‘Fight Club’ is nonetheless a fantastic film that has fought off poor box office numbers and unfavourable reviews to become a cult classic. Edward Norton and Brad Pitt both perform wonderfully with great support from Helena Bonham Carter. The film has a lot to say about the society in which it is set and much of this is done through the now iconic Tyler Durden (Pitt) and the numerous quotes that he provides. ‘Fight Club’ is just over 15 years old but we’re confident that this Fincher classic will be enjoyed by audiences for many more and it only just misses out on the top spot on our list!
Quite simply the best of Fincher’s works. This horror/crime thriller is widely regarded as one of the best films of all time. A clever and engaging plot, portrayed wonderfully by a star-studded cast featuring Freeman, Pitt, Paltrow and Spacey, this haunting and sadistic tale of one man’s mission to rid humanity of its sins is quite simply a wonderful achievement in cinema and unquestionably Fincher’s best work to date. Who knew gore, murder and Satanism could be so enjoyable to watch.
Check out a review of ‘Se7en’ over at JumpCut UK here
Written and edited by Nick Deal, Jakob Lewis Barnes & Hamish Calvert