Monday, November 14, 2011

Top Ranked Films of David Fincher

David Fincher
4 titles, 64th in pts w 12,755

Fincher should be rising in the polls over time as he's just hitting his stride. I predict he'll end up in the top 20 eventually, as will Christopher Nolan.

These are all the films of American director David Fincher’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Fight Club (1999) #201
2. The Social Network (2010) #235
3. Se7en (1995) #300
4. Zodiac (2007) #723 Should have been a best picture nominee

Out of the top 1000
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) #1538
6. The Game (1997) #2046 This should be ranked!

I found Fight Club to be hilarious, but I was the only one laughing in the theater – like the scene with Edward Norton beating himself in front of his boss. Then I saw an interview with Fincher about the film and he said “I make comedies, why does no one laugh in the theater?” I felt vindicated, at least I was on the same wavelength as Fincher, so I guess he’s one I feel that I understand. Fight Club also has an incredible cast and performances – loved Helena Bonham Carter in this, she deserved an Oscar®.

I don’t know how they can rank Seven so highly and The Game so lowly (a relentless film that never slows down except when you need a breather), they should be reversed. Seven is just basically a disgusting murder spree film - another of the category of "let's see how many ways we can kill a human". This formula was old in the 50's already - can we please give it a rest?

Zodiac (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, photo left) is also underrated, I found it far more riveting than The Social Network, though that one is a well-crafted film for business history, low on drama or existential meaning relative to humanoids, just “will our business survive”, so pretty light for subject matter compared to all the other Fincher films, the best of which are about human survival and meaning. Zodiac shed credible light on an old unsolved mystery, a series of killings in the San Franciso area that were accompanied by letters from the killer to the newspapers, as if taunting both the public and law enforcement.

In The Game, a wealthy, lonely CEO played by Michael Douglas has everything, so what does young brother Sean Penn give him for an important birthday? A fiendishly designed game, tailored for the individual recipient, who must first sign a legal waiver that they can't sue no matter what, so a gullible and trusting Douglas does just that, and his controllable reality is turned into a nightmarish fight for survival. This is as fun as movies get to me, if you're in the mood for mindless action, in this case danger fabricated for a price for the bored and jaded upper-class. Yet the film also has existential angst as a theme, embedded within the action, as do all his best three films. For me, an unforgettable scene of Douglas eating a meal in solitude and silence at home prepared by his cook says a lot about the real point of this underrated film.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button should have been better, the F. Scott Fitzgerald story is a great premise for a film, about a man born old who regressively ages toward childhood, so his age will criss-cross those he loves at some point, and only be the same age briefly. But it curiously lacks much passion, it's a little matter-of-fact in its treatment. Perhaps it’s hampered by length and poor pacing, something that worked in Zodiac’s favor, as that detective film was about a long, slow investigation into the Zodiac killings by a journalist well after the police have basically drawn a blank.

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

For me, he has three great films, and four pretty good ones, five legitimate top 1000 films, with more on the way. (He's just remade the Danish film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). All are worth seeing, each has it’s moments of brilliance, and all are interesting stories, and well-crafted films. I don't think any have a lot of heart, he's more a product of the insanity of the modern world - the new milennia could be one of chaos and near-anarchy, so Fincher's films fit right in. Even Social Network was about business without rules, a computer hacker steals databases and builds a success story, apparently with legal immunity. What kind of world is this now?

I think he’ll later be considered one of the classic American directors, after he’s made about twenty films. He seems to be documenting in myth and fact-based reconstructions the decline and fall of western civilization as we know it.

These are all films I like, and here’s my order of preference for Fincher (and roughly where I’d rank the film):
1- Zodiac (125) - probably his most intelligent, literate film
2- The Game (140) - controlled chaos, what could be more accurate?
3- Fight Club (175) - ok, it's a little excessive and repetetive at first, still a great anachist statement
4- The Social Network (600) - where was the FBI during all the hacking and data theft? that's a federal crime.. interesting; I guess if the money outweighs legality and ethics, anything is possible
5- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (800)
6- Se7en (1200)
[In all honesty, I could flip-flop the top 3 after rewatching each one]

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

1 comment:

Wonderwomen72 said...

Let me tell you something. David ant not nothing on the orgodfather, scareface. There's also a man they call Walt you might know him his last name is Disney. Walt Disney ring a bell. How about George Lucas you might of heard of the man. I don't know who made James Bond but he did a hell of a job if you ask me.

Need I say more?