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Here at FIB, we’re huge on films. Our appreciation for the biggest names in the industry only grows with each new film added to their portfolios. So, as you could imagine, we’re ecstatic about these video essays we’ve discovered and have decided to share weekly segments with some exclusive comments from FIB’s very own film team so we can give our readers a well-rounded FIB Film Masterclass!
This week, Studio Binder takes us along a deep dive into the work of David Fincher and his unique directing style. This episode analyses Fincher’s movies including scenes from Zodiac, House of Cards, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and Fight Club.
Here’s what our film team had to say about David Fincher:
FIB Film Team Member
David Fincher is a well-established director with plenty of successful films under his belt. From the likes of cult classics such as ‘Seven’ (1995) and ‘Fight Club’ (1999) to moving masterpieces like ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ (2008) and intense thrillers like ‘Gone Girl’ (2014). As a director he chooses to use specific techniques to give his films their distinct qualities. This includes the reoccurrence of the use of warm tones throughout his films, with particular emphasis on the colour yellow. Other than design wise, he also works with his actors to achieve a certain feel. I personally love the performances of the actors within the film ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ as I feel the actors are able to really embody their characters even though Brad Pitt in particular, transitions throughout the film to play a young man in an old man’s body and vice versa.
FIB Film Team Member
David Fincher is the first, and one of the only, directors that come to mind when I think of a ‘perfectionist’. His signature approach to filmmaking, and subsequent style result from his desire to have total control over every aspect the audience sees, hears, and understands.
His camerawork is famously deliberate when it comes to movement. He typically favours locking down on a tripod over handheld, however his shots are rarely ever completely static. Every slight movement of a character; be it leaning forward, backward, or raising a hand motivates a slight movement of the camera. This ties the camera, as well as the audience, more closely to the character and their experience.
Additionally, his perfectionism presents itself in the form of meticulous use of CGI. Upon first inspection, it’s easy to believe that CG is non-existent in many of Fincher’s films when, in actuality, it hides in plain sight. Examples include fully simulated blood, which Fincher utilises to avoid the unpredictability of a practical blood effect, and using a green screen plate to replace a window’s background with the exact scene required.
The holy grail of Fincher’s CGI can be seen in the long take from Panic Room (2002), in which the camera pulls off insane moves through tight spaces and multiple rooms of the house. The camera even goes inside a keyhole at one point. At first glance it might seem like only certain elements of the scene are CGI, but the truth is that the majority of the house’s interior is modeled and rendered from scratch, and the camera is virtually animated. Even with this knowledge, the scene is almost indistinguishable from a live action shot.
David Fincher doesn’t leave anything to chance in his films. If something can be entirely under his control, he will endure the extra work required to make it happen. The result is some of the most polished, visually-striking and compelling films of the 21st century.
Rocio Merino Hernandez
FIB Film Team Member
I haven’t seen all of David Fincher’s Movies, but my favourite is “Fight Club”, by far.
Obviously, all of his movies represent his personal style, but I like the way that he projected his style in this one. I also think it’s a very interesting argument.
In his directing style we can enhance how he takes care about the images, using them to say a lot with no words. I also find attractive the use of colour, lights and especially shades to convey sensations and puts the audience in situations. I also like how the camera movements make some scenes really unique.
FIB Film Team Leader
It’s no surprise to me that David Fincher is held at such a high regard since he’s developed his masterful directing methods and put them to use in some incredibly made, impactful films such as Se7en & Fight Club; some classics to say the least. I really enjoy his use of realism in his ideology for story telling, especially nowadays with the booming influx of sci-fi and fiction films being created, I feel as if it’s quite a rare talent to be able to tell a real story using real relatable problems and thematic issues to convey a message or to engage an audience.
Things that go unnoticed such as elements of sound design and subtle camera movements used to portray perspective and headspace I’m especially fond of for the same reason I am fond of Fincher’s exceptional attention to detail, every little decision has a bigger meaning to the overall story. Foreground movement in still shots from fight club, or the overall tones of yellow in Se7en, these stylistic choices are so quick to be glossed over without a second glance however are chosen to look a certain way for a reason.
A good film is meant to make an audience forget that they are watching a film and allow them to lose themselves in the beauty of raw story, and Fincher successfully manages to pull this off with every classic he’s directed.
Paul G Roberts
DESIRE GROUPE Founder
David Fincher is a remarkable story teller. There really is no-one like him in all of film. He made his name with the gripping Noir-esque suspense thrillers like Seven and Fight Club. It has been said you can tell his work just by a single frame. But in more recent works like The Social Network you would be hard pressed to tell what shots were natural action and what were CGI enhanced. Fincher cut his CGI wizardry working with George Lucas on the first Star Wars film, so it’s no surprise that there are few filmmakers working today who have the same mastery of post production, CGI, to meld amazing acting and character work with gripping nail biting and surreal action. He really is a master, as his vast catalogue of lauded work indicates. Oh, and he really loves Brad Pitt 😉
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