If you’re a movie fan, chances are good you’ve seen at least one of the following films. Starting with Alien 3 and improving himself constantly over a storied filmography, Fincher is unmatched in his skill of creating ominous overtones, dark corners, and provocative stories that pull you in. Today we changed it up a little bit and present his top five films. Beware though, These contain spoilers to all of the films on the countdown. Enjoy!
5. ZODIAC, 2007
One of the most captivating and chilling times in the Bay Area is documented in this cold, distant and shadowy film. Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. move the pieces every direction possible in their search for the foreboding Zodiac killer. Now while I can’t accurately describe what it was like to live through the fear presiding in the area, the tension moments in the movie, and the slow, deliberate pace pushed forth by Fincher do nothing to calm your fears of encroaching doom. Much like the actual killer, the movie relies on misdirection and nuance, and it’s a thriller that would make Hitchcock proud.
4. GONE GIRL, 2014
The movie and book are both highly entertaining, but the performances by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck help to separate the film in distinct ways from the book. A man comes home to find his wife gone, and he’s not a clue as to what happened to her. Slowly but surely though he recognizes that he’s not only being played tremendously, but the whole country has unanimously turned against him. Pike’s performance as a calm, brilliantly calculating villain is a thrill to watch, and Affleck’s unlikability in terms of being a bad husband make you wonder if he’s actually capable of what he’s accused of doing. A pitch perfect performance by both, and a story that unravels in unexpected ways, Gone girl is a movie worth watching and enjoying, but don’t go in thinking these people are likeable. They aren’t, and while Affleck goes through the wringer more than any person should ever, he’s not solely innocent.
3. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, 2011
Easily my favorite movie of 2011. What Fincher, Craig and especially Rooney Mara accomplish is amazing. The books had been filmed as Swedish films years before, but I myself prefer this retelling. The intensity is prevalent all around, and Mara as Lisbeth Salander is a furious wonder to watch. The great things about Fincher’s movies is that much of what takes place is in the grey area. Even the people you’re rooting for aren’t the best people, but rather anti-heroes doing things they feel compelled to it. The movie is full of rapes, massive violence, and a few heartwarming moments, but in it’s nearly three hour runtime it’s very much a detective story as you follow the various leads that end up helping to close this case in the cold of the brutal Swedish winter. Also the score, brilliantly done by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross creates an underlying sense of dread as the various characters stumble towards the truth, kicking and screaming, both literally and figuratively.
2. SE7EN, 1995
In high school, my mom dropped me off to see this movie while she ran errands. I was late to the movie. The theater, black as the night, and the screen not helping in anyway to give light, set the stage. While the movie is methodical, technical and terrifying all in one, something else happened to me that day that set it apart from other movies. You see, the theater was so dark i literally sat next to a stranger, although i didn’t know it for a considerable period of time. It wasn’t until I covered my mouth at the horror of the Sloth victim that I felt my elbow brush up against this person, prompting me to scare myself to death and run to find another seat. Obviously after I moved I checked the seats next to me to make sure I wasn’t yet again next to some weirdo. All in all though, it’s one of the great modern horror films of all time, and everything from the opening, the thrilling chase scene, to the heartbreaking, gut wrenching finale have stayed in my head since that fateful day at the theater.
1. FIGHT CLUB, 1999
Many of these films are classics, but for me Fight Club remains one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen. Featuring stellar performances from Norton, Pitt and Bonham- Carter make this movie what it is, even if all three of them are wildly out of their mind(s). I saw it in high school, before I even knew there was a book, so the massive reveal showcasing Norton as just another crazy person left me with my jaw firmly agape. It’s so well executed, that you never see it coming. The book is great and thrilling, but even the author, Chuck Palahniuk said adamantly that the movie is better, so who am I to argue. In Pitt and Norton, Fincher found his Jack and Tyler, and as they crash course through societies constructs and institutions, you finally understand that not all men are created equal. The movie also brilliantly adds a more appropriate ending, and for once, the little guys prove that with enough knowledge, patience, and loyalty from like minded people celebrating their cause, you truly can change the narrative of a world designed to keep us obedient.
Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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