David Fincher: Film Analysis

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The critically acclaimed director David Fincher began his career in the early 1980s and his work includes thirteen films, fifty music videos, and many advertisements. Fincher is the main author of his films and is a modern auteur because many of his works share recurring characteristics. Fincher utilizes color and close-ups to allow the camera to tell the story and his films often carry twisted and controversial themes. I have analyzed the films Fight Club, Seven, and Zodiac to prove Fincher’s auteurism. Fight Club was released in 1999 and tells the story of an underground fight club which slowly turns into a cult. The narrator, played by Edward Norton, remains nameless throughout the film and lives a reasonably lavish life but yet is…show more content…
Seven is a crime mystery film about two detectives played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. Detective William Somerset is soon retiring because he is tired of his unpleasant living in such a corrupt city and he is training his replacement, Detective David Mills. Throughout the film, the two are chasing a serial killer who designs his killings off the Christian seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. He believes he is doing God’s good work by “turning each sin against their sinner.” Fincher again began this film with revealing opening credits of diaries and strange belongings that turn out to be owned by John Doe, our serial killer. Fincher also utilizes close-ups of non-speaking faces \to show characters processing information. These shots are often followed by a previously shown establishing shot which shows solved tension. This technique was also used in Fight Club when the narrator’s boss discovers the list of fight club rules which was left on the office photocopier machine. The narrator threatens his boss and close-up shows the tension in the scene. The scene then jumps to a previously shown long shot to show the release of tension. Single frame insertions are also used in this film. Whereas in Fight Club Fincher uses the inserted images to shock the audience with indecent images, in Seven, they’re used…show more content…
In the film, the attacks reenacted were only of one's where a witness survived which was stated in the opening credits, “What follows is based on actual case files.” From 1968-1969, he committed five murders around the San Francisco Bay area and attempted even more. The infamous serial killer gained celebrity through the media because he sent letters to newspapers, police stations, and even some private citizens. The investigation was followed by reporters played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. and detectives played by Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards. The investigation only lead to inconclusive findings. The movie is based on a book written by Robert Graysmith who was the cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle. Fincher’s camerawork creates a feeling of uncertainty and mystery due to the punch rhythm and pan shots that kept tensions high throughout the film. The beginning shot of the neighborhood is shot through a car window which gives the audience a bystander view. Fincher allows the camera to tell the story again in Zodiac which enhances the mystery of the film. We follow the first Zodiac letter delivery through its arrival to the newspaper building, to the mail sorting room, into the mail cart, and then through the hallways and rooms until it’s opened by the reporters. This entire sequence is crosscut with a tracking shot of Robert Graysmith walking to his
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