Director Selective Series: David Fincher Part 2

Hello, Weirdos. If you have not checked out Within Range in the Silva Series of Pictures & Poetry, please do.  

This week continues the comb through of David Fincher’s directorial filmography with:

Great line-up this week. I’m particularly interested in revisiting Panic Room.  

Proceeding are thoughts on Part 1 of Fincher’s films:

  • Alien 3: After minor deliberation I decided to watch the Assembly Cut of Alien 3 . This cut, although Fincher wasn’t directly involved, is said to be closer to his vision than the Theatrical Cut. Alien 3  is not awful, but it isn’t great either. It's okay. In comparison to the first two it doesn’t hold up. It isn’t scary enough to compete with Scott’s and isn't intense enough to compete with Cameron’s. All the character relationships Cameron built are destroyed, although themes of motherhood continue over. What this movie does have is gore. Loads of it. Giving it a more savage feel than its predecessors. The xenomorph becomes an animalistic predator and less of an intelligent being. And the CGI doesn’t hold up. Fincher’s first foray into film presents weak graphics, scares, and action, but plants a seed of something new for the director. Much like the queen inside Ripely.
  • Se7en: Endings are a powerful thing. When Se7en is the topic, the ending is a bulk of the conversation. The ending is fantastic, and one of the all time best conclusions. With thrillers often is the case that catching the villain is the finale, but with this picture the detectives do not catch the villain. Giving the audience something fresh. What makes the ending strong is the rest of the film. Take away the ending, and Se7en holds up. The characters themselves are not anything special (a deadpan villain, a detective a week away from retirement, fresh blood trying to make a name for himself), but the performances and development make them memorable. The dinner between Somerset (Freeman), Mills (Pitt), and his wife Tracy (Paltrow) is genuine and the heart of this dreary movie. Through the escalating violence and grotesqueness of John Doe's (Spacey) murders, audiences become intrigued, intertwined, and curious about what is coming. Fincher uses the anonymous downtrodden city to play against the protagonists, demonstrating why Somerset is ready to leave and what the future holds for Mills. Se7en is one hell of a second film.
  • The Game: Fincher's third film is a thriller about a wealthy man (played by Micheal Douglas) who gets sucked into a borderless role-playing game by his brother (Sean Penn). Audiences never know who is in on the game and who is not. Douglas and Penn give in to their roles—both bringing a fierceness to their characters, showing the tension between the brothers and the love that tension brings with it. Parts are farfetched because of the extremity of the game itself, but most of what happens is plausible. Mystery and tension are present throughout, and since Douglas' Nicholas Van Orton is kind of a dick, it becomes easy to care less about his character's well being and root for his comeuppance. That is where this film struggles. You do not care about Van Orton. You like seeing him struggle. He becomes the antagonist while the game entity becomes the hero, which keeps audiences at arm's length. Another enjoyable element is the mirroring of the childhood flashbacks to the present day. During a home movie reel, viewers see Van Orton get pushed into a pool as a child and struggle to get out, leading us to believe he is not a strong swimmer and possibly has a fear of bodies of water. This adds to the intensity of fear when Van Orton is later plunged into the bay during the game. Parts do drag occasionally, but this thriller packs enough to keep audiences guessing until the last twist.

Please share your thoughts below. The Game is typically middling with people, so I'd love to hear different perspectives. The Director Selective Series: David Fincher Part 3 will be available next week. And a full review for Creep 2 is on the way. Keep on Creepin'.