David Fincher is undoubtedly one of the best directors of our generation. He was born on August 28, 1962 in Denver, Colorado and his first feature film was released in 1992 (Alien 3). Since then, Fincher has received worldwide acclaim for his work and has received two Academy Awards nominations for Best Achievement in Directing; for the The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and The Social Network (2010). Moreover, for the latter he has won the award for Best Director at the Golden Globes. Last but not least, Fincher has made crucial contributions to the development of the hit television series House of Cards.
Despite all of Fincher's success, obviously not all his films are equal and some of them are a lot more astounding than others. However, all of his films are worth a watch (most of them more than once). So, here is a ranking of all of the feature films directed by David Fincher (so far):
Do you (dis)agree with my list? What is your favorite David Fincher movie? Leave your take in the comment section below and thank you for reading!
10. Alien 3 (1992)
While the third installment in the Alien franchise did receive an Oscar nod for Best Visual Effects, the film is definitely inferior to its two predecessors, mostly due to the many difficulties encountered in its production.
Fincher's directorial debut was extremely uncomfortable for him, as he had a very limited time to work with. At the same time, shooting began without a finished script and furthermore, Fincher needed to shoot and rewrite the script simultaneously while fitting in sets that had already been built. Finally, filming was also plagued by incessant creative interference from studio executives. For these reasons, the finished product turned out to be a mess and Fincher himself has said that he regrets that the film was made this way.
9. Panic Room (2002)
Panic Room is a thriller that follows a very young (and diabetic) Kristen Stewart and her divorced mother (played by Jodie Foster) take refuge in their newly-purchased house's safe room, when three burglars (Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto and Dwight Yoakam) break in, searching for a missing fortune. The film is certainly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's works and it is full of suspense and nerve-racking moments.
Panic Room has been praised for its cinematography, Fincher's visual style and its strong female heroines (Foster's captivating performance was universally acclaimed). However, the film is also perceived as being more mainstream compared to Fincher's other feature films and perhaps for this reason, it did not receive the same popularity as some of the director's other movies.
8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Although, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button received 13 Oscar nominations and won 3 of them, it is not really a film that was received well by many of David Fincher's fans. The main reason for this discontent is that the film seems like it was made for award-baiting and it is very different from Fincher's other films and it does not really fit into his filmography.
In addition, in the film a considerable amount of time is spent on Button's (Brad Pitt) adventures, while his character is not fully explored and he kinda falls flat, especially compared to Fincher's best character creations.
7. The Game (1997)
The Game is one of Fincher's most underrated films and it also marks one of Michael Douglas' most underrated performances.
This movie is so predictable at times and yet it still manages to completely shock you. It really is a galvanizing tale of loneliness and redemption and it reveals some of David Fincher's own concerns and fears.
6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Fincher's depiction of Stieg Larsson's acclaimed novel is amazing in its own way compared to the Swedish film trilogy. The chemistry between Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara is unbelievable and it is fair to say that the latter was robbed of an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo keeps you on the edge the whole time and it perfectly captures all of the major themes explored in the novel - the violence against women, the incompetence and cowardice of investigative journalists, the moral bankruptcy of big capital and the virulent strain of Nazism that is still taking its toll on Swedish society. Besides, you really can feel how thrilling is the search for solving the mystery, even more than the solution itself.
5. Gone Girl (2014)
Fincher's latest film is extremely dark and stylish. It is based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn and its main strength is the impeccable casting. Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, and Missi Pyle all give spellbinding performances.
On the other hand, the film was criticized for its portrayal of feminism and I was left under the impression that Gone Girl's main themes should have been explored further. Nevertheless, the film is still very typical of David Fincher and it is well-worth watching.
4. Fight Club (1999)
Considered by many to be Fincher's magnum opus, Fight Club is a glorious representation of the confusing consumerism society that we live in. This cult classic follows an unnamed protagonist as he struggles with insomnia. He meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden and establishes an underground fighting club as radical psychotherapy.
The film explores such themes as: the state of masculinity and the feminization of men in modern society, anti-consumer culture, existentialism and there is even a place for some romance. In conclusion, it is hardly a surprise that Fight Club is so beloved and yet controversial, as it is a wonderful piece of cinema that should be seen by everyone.
3. Se7en (1995)
Se7en is another title worthy of being called David Fincher's best film. Probably the director's darkest feature film to date, it follows the story of two detectives - Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Brad Pitt), a rookie and a veteran, who hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.
The two lead actors play two completely opposite types of detectives and this is one of the film's main strengths, as they form a duo that seems extremely realistic and believable. It should also be noted that Kevin Spacey's performance is of top quality and finally, the ending of Se7en is most definitely one of the most disturbing and shocking film endings that you are ever going to see.
2. The Social Network (2010)
I highly doubt that before this film was released somebody thought that a film about creating a website can be so intriguing and fascinating.
The Social Network is riveting and it is extremely fast-paced. The beautiful directing, the solid actor performances, the balance between business-related talks and humor and the great soundtrack make this film a true modern classic.
1. Zodiac (2007)
Zodiac is definitely David Fincher's most underrated and underappreciated film. By showing the story of the Zodiac killer, Fincher also managed to capture perfectly the atmosphere of workday San Francisco in the second part of the 20th century.
The film is not audacious and it might seem at times boring and mundane, but this is one of its charms. In addition, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr. all give unbelievable performances. Besides, the story is filled with twists and dead ends and during the whole movie you are left with the frustration and obsession of searching without finding. Zodiac is likely Fincher's most intense thriller and I do believe that it is his best film as well.