David Fincher’s latest Mank will premiere on Netflix on December 4. For a director who is known for his cerebral, dark thrillers, this is a considerable departure. Instead of commentary on the modern psyche, it harks back to Old Hollywood and is an ode to the American film industry of the 1930s and 1940s.
One of the most talented filmmakers working in Hollywood today, Fincher may have directed only a few films in his long career, but he usually aces what he does. Before you watch Mank, here is a ranking of every film he has made yet.
10. Alien 3: YouTube and Google Play
It must have been super-difficult for a young Fincher to direct a franchise film after filmmakers like Ridley Scott and James Cameron had made their mark. Also, there were reports of heavy studio interference. Since then, Fincher has disowned Alien 3. The film is bad, but not a complete disaster. Just, it doesn’t come anywhere close to the first two installments.
9. Panic Room
This film was made by David Fincher after Seven, but it did not have his distinctive touches. It was still a well-mounted home invasion thriller, and was buoyed by Jodie Foster’s performance.
8. The Game: YouTube
This Michael Douglas film is about an investment banker (Douglas) who is bestowed with a gift by his brothers. The gift is a voucher for a game by a shady company called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). The game seems fun at first but becomes more and more dangerous. The Game is a gripping thriller.
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Google Play
This Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett starrer is about a man who ages in reverse, and this naturally creates a whole lot of problems. Like Mank, this film was pretty different from other Fincher films, with its sentimental tone. Far from the best thing he has ever done, it was nevertheless an enjoyable experience.
6. Gone Girl: Netflix
In Gone Girl, based on Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name, the story and the perspective shifts about halfway through, and the twist comes like a sharp blow to the head with commensurate effect (almost). David Fincher somehow managed to portray that decidedly literary twist extremely well on the screen. The whole thing keeps you guessing right until the end, which also leaves things unsettled. A brilliant film.
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Based on Stieg Larsson’s novel of the same name, the film is about a tangled web of murder, killings and a disappearance. It poses as a mere thriller, and slowly reveals its real face — that of a thriller with substantial political and social commentary. Both Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig are superb in this film.
4. Fight Club: Amazon Prime Video
Based on the eponymous Chuck Palahanuik book, Fight Club is all about masculinity or at least our understanding of it. The commentary is ambiguous, and we are still not sure if it endorses that ugliest, violent sort of manliness or if it is an indictment of manliness. Either way, Fight Club is a solid film. The movie is also somehow better than the book it takes its material from. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton deliver career-best performances.
Zodiac is based on the crimes of the infamous Zodiac killer and the country-wide hunt to bring him to justice. The film could easily have been rambling with so many characters and threads, but it keeps the viewer’s attention right until the end. The mostly frenetic pace sometimes relaxes a little, as though allowing you a little room to breathe. The era is superbly evoked with little things that few will notice.
2. The Social Network: Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
Only David Fincher (and Aaron Sorkin) could have turned the circumstances surrounding the founding of a social network into a gripping affair. After all, it should have been dull. Just a few nerds brainstorming and coming up with ideas, a brilliant but socially inept man coming with a system to rate the women of his college on the ‘hotness’ scale. But the script and direction made this film one of Fincher’s best ever.
1. Seven: Netflix
Fincher’s crowning achievement, Seven sees Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman joining forces to nail a murderer who kills people according to Christianity’s seven deadly sins.
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