David Andrew Leo Fincher (born August 28, 1962) is an American filmmaker who's highly acclaimed for his gritty, stylish films.
After a brief stint working at Industrial Light and Magic on a few films (specifically Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), 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. He was also a producer on the Netflix anthology Love, Death & Robots.
Fincher's directorial efforts:
- Alien³ (1992) (disowned due to Executive Meddling)
- Se7en (1995)
- The Game (1997)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Panic Room (2002)
- Zodiac (2007)
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
- The Social Network (2010)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
- House of Cards (2013 - 2018) (Pilot of American adaptation of the series)
- Gone Girl (2014)
- Mindhunter (2017 - present) (Directs four episodes along with producing the show)
- Mank (2020)
Notable music videos directed by Fincher:
- Rick Springfield - "Dance This World Away" (1985) note
- Jermaine Stewart - "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" (1986)
- Loverboy - "Notorious" (1987)
- Foreigner - "Say You Will" (1987)
- Sting - "Englishman in New York" (1988)
- Johnny Hates Jazz - "Shattered Dreams" (1988; American version)
- Steve Winwood - "Roll With It" (1988)
- Paula Abdul - "Straight Up" (1989)
- Madonna - "Express Yourself" (1989), "Vogue" (1990)
- Aerosmith - "Janie's Got a Gun" (1990)
- George Michael - "Freedom! '90" (1990)
- The Rolling Stones - "Love is Strong" (1994)
- Nine Inch Nails - "Only" (2005)
- Justin Timberlake - "Suit & Tie" (2015)
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.
- Deadpan Snarker: If there's any humor in his films, it's usually in this form. Listen to his commentaries and you'll find out he's a great one himself.
- 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 (2011).
- Gray-and-Grey Morality: Characters are neither unambiguously good nor bad.
- 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. It should also be noted that despite this, he is very respectful and amicable towards his actors and enjoys good relationships with them.
- Signature Style: Dark neo-noirs with low Mood Lighting, a cold, claustrophobic feeling throughout and one or more gut-punch moments, often soundtracked by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: The man certain isn't shy about swearing, as the above quote and any interview of him can prove.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Aside from maybe Benjamin Button, his films are usually planted far on the cynical end:Fincher: I think people are perverts. That's the foundation of my career.
- 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, since he makes them do nothing he wouldn't do himself if it were possible. Fincher also mentored Mark Ruffalo when the latter directed his first film, the two having worked together on Zodiac.