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Forums - Movies Discussion - David Fincher's best film?

 

I think the best is...

Alien 3 2 5.88%
 
Se7en 7 20.59%
 
The Game 1 2.94%
 
Fight Club 13 38.24%
 
Panic Room 0 0%
 
Zodiac 1 2.94%
 
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 2 5.88%
 
The Social Network 6 17.65%
 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 0 0%
 
Gone Girl 2 5.88%
 
Total:34

I'm only familiar with Fight Club, Gone Girl, Alien 3, and Se7en.
It's Gone Girl for me. Why? I just liked it better.

I liked Fight Club before, maybe even more than Gone Girl. I think what ruined Fight Club for me were annoying memers who thought they were being clever by obsessively repeating stuff from the film.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

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Finally got around to watching Social Network.

It was actually much better than I was expecting; I didn't think it was quite as great as Se7en or Zodiac but it's still definitely still one of his best; great performances, cinematography, direction, and writing, kinda reminded me of Wolf of Wall Street a bit in so much as capturing the frantic, depraved world of attaining multi-million dollar success.



Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

My favorite on this list is easily Social Network. I was surprised how good it was. I've seen several others (Alien 3, Seven, The Game, Fight Club), and they are all decent to good, but none of them really stood out like Social Network did.



It's been a while since I first wanted to post in this thread, and I even started to do it long ago (but never finished). So I think now it's as good a time as any other to start over and in this ocassion try to actually finish it. =P

Okay, my list of David Fincher movies would be something like this: Se7en ~ Fight Club (excelent) > Panic Room ~ Gone Girl (decent) > The Game (mediocre). And as for the films of the poll that I want to watch and will do some day, I have at least The Social Network, Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Of the five movies that made my list, Gone Girl is the one I remember the least and that's partially because, when I saw it, I thought it wasn't that memorable. I remember it was a decent or maybe good film, but nothing special. Maybe I'm wrong, anyway, and maybe I watch it at some other time, like I recently did with The Game, which actually disappointed me a little. I remembered it as a good movie, but when I saw it this second time, I found it plain from a technical standpoint and, regarding the script...,

WARNING: spoilers of The Game.

Spoiler!

...I have to say, first of all, that the motivation for the main character participating in The Game feels too weak, given his personality: "I'm a really successful businessman and a very influential millionaire, but I'm going to let my job aside and waste hours of my time (even when I couldn't care less to spend a fraction of that time with my own family) in these weird experiments that this extremely suspicious company which I know basically nothing of is performing on me, so that I can later participate in some silly game that I see no practical benefit in, and I'm going to do all that because I'm curious." Well, yeah... But no.

The other issue I have with this movie is that a lot of crazy stuff happens in the game and, when the end comes, all that crazy stuff is justified or explained with a simple: "It was all planned" - they literally say it. I mean, you don't need to give an explanation for every single event that ocurs in the movie, but when there are dozens or even hundreds of people involved and you have a whole city and even a different country as the stage of your game, you can't just tell that everything (even the smallest and completely lucky-dependent details) happend according to your plan, because that's just impossible - and more importantly, lazy from a scriptwriting point of view. I think the director had this idea of The Game and only cared about bringing it to life, without giving much thought to how to make it feel natural and believable in the context it's happening, so in the end the movie is a sort of science-fiction product pretending to be realistic, and that's a bit off-putting to me.

I pretty much think that this movie would've been a lot better if it was entirely fictional and set in a dystopia of sorts. I mean, there are products out there with dystopian worlds that feel underused (Gattaca and The Man in the High Castle, in particular, become hugely wasted concepts after a while, in my opinion), so why not creating a dystopian world for a movie that could greatly benefit from it? Of course, it wouldn't be enough just creating a dystopia and placing the same story in it - some other changes would need to be made. But if done right, the resulting movie could be much more compelling than the actual one.

WARNING: spoilers of Panic Room.

Spoiler!

I won't say much about this movie, because there's not a lot to say: the shots and camera movements are daring and very well done in general, and the atmosphere is terrific, but at the same time the story and (particularly) the characters are just mediocre: the story is well paced, but has some issues or holes that detract from it actually being good, and the characters are just too cliché and shallow, and therefore a bit unappealing - it's hard for me to care about them when they feel copy-pasted. Also, there are a couple of moments of artificially generated tension: one when the mother gets out of the panic room to look for her mobile phone and the whole sequence happens in slow cam (I mean, really?); and the other at the end, with the typical fight where the weapons are all in the ground and all the people are crawling and at times moving slower than usual, and standing still for a second or two, instead of acting immediately... I'm not a fan of these situations, to be honest: they're just there to prolong the tension, but it's so artificial that it creates the opposite effect for me - I'm just like: “Ok, finish this already...”.

So all in all, I think Panic Room is a very well made movie from a technical standpoint, but a weak one in terms of storytelling and character development.

WARNING: spoilers of Se7en.

Spoiler!

I remembered this thread a while ago thanks to a post I wrote about The Return of the King...

WARNING: spoilers of The Return of the King.

Spoiler!

...and how an important battle ended in a way that can be considered anticlimactic.

Well, the same exact thing happens in Se7en:...

...police thrillers usually end when the good guys face and catch the bad guy (you can think of that as a final battle), and that moment is very important, not only because it's the culmination of a search that has lasted the whole movie, but also because there are usually (and preferably) a lot of things at stake, so if the battle goes wrong, a number of terrible consequences (more murders, generally) would be triggered.

Now imagine that that incredibly relevant battle, the climax of the whole movie, was reduced to something as lame as the murderer just turning himself in to the police with no resistance whatsoever. Well, you've got Se7en: a murderer who is much more intelligent than the cops and who has always been two steps in front of them suddenly decides that he's going to surrender. If Se7en ended here, most people would probably dislike it, or at most, they consider it a good film, but with a terrible ending.

WARNING: spoilers of The Return of the King.

Spoiler!
Just for the sake of comparison, apply that to The Return of King and imagine that the movie just ended with the army of the dead killing everyone, and then Frodo just throwing the ring at the Doom Mount without any intervention from Aragorn and the rest, and that's it. That would be a bad ending that people would absolutely dislike (at the very least): no emotion, no tension, no epicity, no nothing.

But as we all know, that's not the case, and after that moment of anticlimax, a bigger climax comes.

And this climax in Se7en basically consists of switching the typical "final battle" of police thrillers for a different one with a much bigger conflict, one internal in which one of the good cops is suddenly forced to face a heartbreaking truth, seeing himself with the strong need of making a particularly tough decision: if he doesn't kill the bad guy, his own wish for revenge remains unfulfilled, and then neither the bad guy achieves his purposes nor he does - both of them lose. But if he kills the bad guy, his wish for revenge gets fulfilled, so he wins in that regard, but at the same time he also loses a lot more: his freedom - and the bad guy, well, just wins.

Now, if we look at this scene in a cold and perfectly reasonable manner, the decision is quite easy: since you're going to lose anyway, it's better to not get your wish for revenge fulfilled, but accept instead a smaller lose for yourself and at the same time don't allow the bad guy to win.

However, what makes this moment so strong is the enormous emotional charge that it has: who in the whole world could actually make a cold and reasonable decision when their so-beloved partner and their just discovered future son, both of them their whole world, have just been mercilessly killed by this utterly despicable son a bitch who is right in front of them right now, while they have a gun in their hands? And that's why the end of Se7en works so well in spite of the previous anticlimax: it brings a much, much stronger climax shortly after, where everything gets solved. And almost inmediately after that climax the movie is over - that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you finish a movie.

So as of now, we have that Se7en not only breaks the paradigmatic structure of the genre it belongs to, but it also uses an anticlimax in the worst possible moment in which an anticlimax could be used, and that alone would already be enough to raise eyebrows if someone told us that such a movie is good. But that's not even all yet.

I think it's more or less common knowledge that villains usually need to have an advantage over the good guys, so that the conflict between them is interesting to follow and the audience feels involved. In the case of Se7en, John Doe (that's his name) belongs to the same group than a couple of widely known villains, and I'm referring to Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs) and the Joker (The Dark Knight Rises). All of them share, loosely speaking, the same profile of villain - one that, when done well, may become very loved in the pop culture: some guy with mental issues who has a very high intelligence. It's, in fact, that intelligence the advantage they have against the good guys: they all outsmart their counterparts,...

WARNING: BIG SPOILERS of The Silence of the Lambs and The Dark Knight (and Se7en).

Spoiler!

...even to the extent that, one way or another, they all win in their respective movies.

In The Silence of the Lambs,...

Spoiler!
...Hannibal Lecter manages to escape and wander freely in some country, where he once even got to have an old friend for dinner.

In The Dark Knight,...

Spoiler!
...The Joker forces Batman to sacrifice his image and become sort of an outlaw. (No wonder why he's always so serious.)

In Se7en, John Doe achieves his goal, and I will leave this here for now.

So, as we can see, all of them share several similarities, but at the same time, they all have something that makes them outstanding and memorable. That's why, when you think of The Silence of the Lambs, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is Hannibal Lecter and (more than probably) this image of him. Those crazy eyes totally fixed on you (he doesn't blink, or barely does it, in the entire movie) with that sort of terrifying mask around his mouth, reinforcing the fact that he's a cannibal... The work of characterization both from the creative people in charge of his design and the actor who brought him to life is just excelent.

And if you think of The Dark Knight, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is the Joker and (more than probably) these two aspects of him:

1) His make-up.

2) His laughter.

Just like before, there's an awesome work of characterization behind the Joker that strenghtens his whole personality: the mobs are a joke to him, the police are a joke to him, the whole world is a joke to him... He doesn't believe in anything or have any ambitions: he "just wants to watch the world burn" and laugh at it while it does. And that's what his design and behivior are meant to transmit; in the end, he's just a clown in a circus, isn't he?

And when we come to Se7en, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is... is... is the villain? Let's think about it for a moment - think about... uh, err... what was his name, again? Oh, yeah! John Doe. What a name, eh? Not particularly memorable, I must say, but at least the guy has... uh... ehm... What... exactly does he have? I mean, look at him. He's bald, but not completely bald. He has a hairy chest. He has, uh, a nose. Eyes. Ears. Two of each, to be more precise. Uh... Well, what's more? Oh, yeah: he's a man... who seems to be middle-aged, I'd say, and, uh, who wears an orange suit, but not all the time: sometimes he wears a regular shirt with trousers... Oh, and I almost forget! He can run; not particularly fast or slow, but he can do it.

You get it, right? The villain in Se7en has no characterization at all. I mean, just look at his name: John Doe. John. Fucking. Doe. Can it get more generic and bland? And if we go back to that image of him, what would you think if you see that guy in a random scene without any context? Just based on his appearance, you'd probably have a hard time assuming that he even has a relevant role there, let alone the role of that bright and extraordinarily cruel villain who outsmarts the police all the time.

Now, if we look at the sequence of the car, we can extract a couple of interesting quotes from him:

"It doesn't matter who I am; who I am means absolutely nothing.[...] I'm not special. I've never been exceptional. This is, though, what I'm doing: my work.[...] People will barely be able to comprehend it, but they won't be able to deny it."

"I'm setting the example, and what I've done is gonna be puzzled over, and studied, and followed forever."

So what's precisely what people usually remember when they think of Se7en? Exactly: the murders; his work. John Doe is such a plain and boring-looking character because all that matters is what he does, not who he is; his lack of characterization is his characterization. Or if we stretch it a bit, we could say that his murders are his characterization: you may like them or not, but they're shocking and will inmediately draw your attention, to the extent that you may easily remember them days, weeks, months or even years after watching the movie, just like you remember Hannibal Lecter and the Joker.

But even if the murders are not considered the characterization of the villain, the point is that we could hardly think of anything that would stress the idiosincrasy and motivations of this particular character more than just making him a regular person with no special features at all that would make him memorable, because he's not supposed to be memorable; his murders, on the contrary, are.

And that's why another decision that would spoil any other movie becomes brilliant in this particular one, which makes Se7en almost a manual on how to do things that you're not supposed to do, and yet make them work great and in a way that make total sense (this last point in particular is very important).

WARNING: spoilers of Fight Club.

Spoiler!

I've already written a lot, so I'll be much more more concise with this one. The way I see it, Fight Club has three correlated levels of depth:

1) Social criticism. The most obvious one; they basically throw it at our faces throughout the whole movie, so the way it's done is basically the opposite of subtle. However, the fact that these ideas are expressed in such a strong, direct and effective dialogs is what makes them work so well and resonate so much in people's minds.

2) Character's conflicts with him own self and frustration with his life. Expressed through his double personality, but visible all the time in the way he gets more and more away from his previous life and way of being; even if we don't know that he is Tyler Durden, we can still see how he admires him and his life style, and how he tries to be more and more like him.

3) The details on the creation of a terrorist group. This whole movie is basically the story of how a fictional terrorist group is born: the film starts when the frustration with society and the insomnia of the main character lead him to create an alter ago with lots of subversive ideas, then follows with the creation of a group of blind supporters of those ideas (the Fight Club), and ends when that group finally manages to establish itself as a real, tangible danger for society, that is, at the moment when their first terrorist attack is perpetrated. So this movie can also be seen as a sort of insight into the consequences of very noble, but potentially extreme and dangerous ideas, when they are taken too seriously.

So in the end, Fight Club (intentionally or not) kind of makes people be a part of a terrorist group without them even knowing it. Just think about it: how many people are there in real life repeating Tyler Durden's mantras? Even I have one of them in my profile's description. So all things considered, the movie is a strong, direct and effective piece of social criticism that people who watch it tend to agree with, and therefore like or even love, but at the same time, that same social criticism that people like so much works as the pillar of a fictional terrorist group, which, in a way, means that the audience of this movie is unknowingly and blindly sympathizing with a terrorist group. Thus, Fight Club shows the very thin line existing into very noble intentions and the potential results of those noble intentions when they're carried out the wrong way. But... this is just my interpretation, based on the couple of times I've watched this movie, and I of course may be wrong.



I have periods of social disconnection, it's a part of me that I need and keenly embrace. I'll still log in and read news and threads during those times, but I won't be (very) active on the site, so I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause (late answers, bumps or the like).

Also...

Please, feel free to correct my English.

Mindhunter is his best work, but in terms of his movies, I'm rather partial to Fight Club and Se7en