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DAVID FINCHER, RANKED

by David Liu
The more of Fincher’s films we experience, the more they seem to share the same phenomenological universe. Every line of dialogue, gesture and expression feels derived from a desire for fulfillment, from the restless journalists and detectives in Zodiac to Kevin Spacey’s ruthless killer in Seven, from Edward Norton’s white-collar waif in Fight Club to the entrepreneurial twenty-somethings in The Social Network. The heroes and antiheroes of Fincher’s worlds are forces of nature, obsessive and meticulous to a fault; their hunger for progress and distaste for bureaucracy appeals to us even as we deplore their personal shortcomings. His three… Read more

The more of Fincher’s films we experience, the more they seem to share the same phenomenological universe. Every line of dialogue, gesture and expression feels derived from a desire for fulfillment, from the restless journalists and detectives in Zodiac to Kevin Spacey’s ruthless killer in Seven, from Edward Norton’s white-collar waif in Fight Club to the entrepreneurial twenty-somethings in The Social Network. The heroes and antiheroes of Fincher’s worlds are forces of nature, obsessive and meticulous to a fault; their hunger for progress and distaste for bureaucracy appeals to us even as we deplore their personal shortcomings.

His three best features:
ZODIAC: a masterful rumination on the relationship of man to media, and one of the finest American pictures of the past 20 years.
THE GAME: his most undervalued work – a sly thriller that doubles as a trip into a misanthrope’s subconscious.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK: an exhilarating portrait of one man’s Pyrrhic conquest, straddling the fine line between myth and document.

Based on these three films alone, I’m tempted to label him as one of the great San Francisco filmmakers, which of course owes a lot to his inspired collaborations with DP Harris Savides (Zodiac, The Game).

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