David Fincher (born 1962) is a filmmaker who's highly acclaimed for his gritty, stylish films. He started out directing commercials and music videos, most notably "Vogue" by Madonna. His movies tend to be very dark, both visually and thematically, and to evoke sensations of paranoia and claustrophobia. He is best known for Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network and Gone Girl.
Fincher's directorial efforts:
- Alien³ (disowned due to Executive Meddling)
- The Game
- Fight Club
- Panic Room
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- The Social Network
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011 American adaptation)
- House of Cards (Pilot of American adaptation of the series)
- Gone Girl
Notable tropes in David Fincher's career and films include:
- Artistic Title
- Award Bait: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is generally regarded as such.
- Berserk Button: Never mention Alien 3 in front of this gentleman.
- Creator Couple: With his life partner Ceán Chaffin, who's produced all his movies from The Game onwards.
- Development Hell: Had signed on to do the animated adaption of The Goon, but the film is currently in the process of finding funding. The short teaser trailer, starring Paul Giamatti as Franky and Clancy Brown as Goon, can be found online, though- it's generally regarded as being pretty awesome.
- His attempted adaptation of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea similarly languished for years before eventually being abandoned,
- Doing It for the Art: In an interview around the time of the release of Fight Club, he explained that he doesn't derive the least amount of pleasure from directing films and only does it for the challenge and sense of satisfaction that comes when the film is finished.
- Executive Meddling:
- His battles with marketing departments how to sell his movies. A notable example is Fight Club, which was marketed as a Rated M for Manly action film in contrast as to what the film's actually about. A more successful fight was over Gone Girl due to their intention to give away The Reveal that Amy faked her own kidnapping. This snippet from the Se7en commentary describes his struggles.
- He also battled with producers over the ending of Seven and some of the more mature content in Fight Club.
- The Film of the Book: Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which doubles as a Foreign Remake) and Gone Girl.
- Film Noir: Much of his work is at least influenced by noir, but especially Se7en, Zodiac, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
- Old Shame: For him at least, Alien 3.
- Oscar Bait: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was widely accused of this, a sentimental, PG-13 fantasy/drama film with heavy similarities to (and the same screenwriter as) Forrest Gump, standing in stark contrast to the dark, edgy and subversive hard-R films that Fincher was known for. For better or worse, it worked: Benjamin Button received more Oscar nominations than all of Fincher's previous films combined.
- Prima Donna Director: He has a Stanley Kubrick-like obsession with getting actors to do take after take of the same scene. Given the quality of his work, it's almost always worth it.
- Production Posse: He has repeatedly collaborated with screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, actor Brad Pitt, cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth and musician Trent Reznor.
- Signature Style: Dark neo-noirs with low Mood Lighting, a cold, claustrophobic feeling throughout and one or more gut-punch moments.
- Sleeper Hit: Most of his films become either this or an Acclaimed Flop.
- Stern Teacher: Widely known as a taskmaster, who will have actors do take after take after take until it's perfect. However, many actors end up respecting if not outright appreciating his methods. Fincher also mentored Mark Ruffalo when the latter directed his first film, the two having worked together Zodiac.