Oct 10, 2017
David Fincher has made a career of delving into abnormal minds, with Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl. But he says his newest project, Mindhunter, isn’t about psychopaths. It’s about the people who figured out how to hunt psychopaths — and that’s an important distinction.
Fincher produced and directed four episodes of the addictive new Netflix show, which starts streaming Oct. 13. The series is about the agents who interviewed the likes of Charles Manson and the Son of Sam in order to better understand the psychology of mass murderers. By doing so, they created a psychological profile for these killers that would allow the FBI to catch similar psychopaths more quickly in the future.
The show is based on the real life events chronicled in the book Mindhunter by the FBI agents who coined the term “serial killer.” But Fincher says he struggled with how deeply the show should dive into the details of these grisly murders. “I said many times as we were in the process of making the show, ‘Wait a minute, we’re making this show about serial killers. We’re not making this show for serial killers,'” the director says.
Fincher spoke to TIME about why he hates the idea of becoming the “serial killer director,” casting the cheery Glee star Jonathan Groff in a dreary role and why we’re all so obsessed with true crime stories.
Read the full interview
Photo: On the set of David Fincher’s ‘Mindhunter’ in Pittsburgh, PA (15 July 2016) (John Sant, Twitter)
by Rob Owen
8 Oct 2017
The first season of Netflix’s filmed-in-Pittsburgh 1970s FBI psychological drama “Mindhunter” has been shrouded in secrecy from the start, but the show finally sees the light of day on the streaming service Friday.
“Mindhunter” is executive produced by David Fincher, who also directed four installments in the 10-episode first season. Mr. Fincher previously brought Netflix its early scripted hit drama “House of Cards.”
“Mindhunter” stars Jonathan Groff (“Looking”) as FBI agent Holden Ford, an upstanding young agent who gets partnered with a jaded veteran, Bill Tench (Holt McCallany, “Lights Out”). The pair are part of the FBI’s “road school,” traveling the country to meet local law enforcement and share details of the bureau’s latest techniques. Along the way, they are asked to consult on local cases.
But they also interview incarcerated serial killers in an attempt to understand what makes these damaged men tick as the FBI pair pioneers research into deviant minds for the bureau’s behavioral science division.
Just because there are intense interview scenes between wet-behind-the-ears Ford and these killers, don’t compare “Mindhunter” to 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs,” even though both were influenced by the work of real-life FBI profiler John Douglas. In “Silence” the Scott Glenn character, Jack Crawford, was supposedly inspired in part by Mr. Douglas; the “Mindhunter” producers bought the rights to Mr. Douglas’ 1995 book “Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit,” which inspired the Netflix series. Ford and Tench are fictional characters, but the serial killers they interview are based on real people.
Read the full profile
A discussion of the Netflix series “Mindhunter” with executive producer and director David Fincher and two stars from the show, Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany.
Watch the full conversation (21:43)
The American director discusses his long-awaited return to feature filmmaking with Logan Lucky.
Interview: Matt Thrift
Illustration: Robert Manning
Little White Lies
It’s been four years since Steven Soderbergh announced his retirement from filmmaking, slamming the door on his way out with an impassioned cri de coeur on the state of the industry at the San Francisco Film Festival. In the event, it turned out to be more of a working-vacation, what with his 2013 TV movie, Behind the Candelabra, and two seasons of The Knick released in the interim. Now he’s back on the big screen with Logan Lucky, one of his best films to date, bringing with it a new fight against the system with the film’s experimental distribution model. We sat down for a long chat with American cinema’s most restless workaholic, the original Sundance Kid.
Read the interview
Thanks to Joe Frady
Posted by Sean W. Fallon | Aug 30, 2017
David Fincher has developed a very distinct style over the years as he has cemented himself as one of our most impressive technical filmmakers. Fincher has a great hold on characters and story, but he stands out because his mechanical, almost robotic, style of filmmaking is so recognisable and effective. His movies are distinguishable by a number of trademarks and signature moves. Fincher likes washed-out colours with lots of metallic blues and greys along with crushed blacks, which makes his movies seem as though they’re being projected to us on a piece of frozen metal. He also avoids handheld camera work, opting instead for a locked down camera that pans and pivots around a scene with balanced, unnatural movement, which enhances the feeling of an omniscient camera that is operating independently of a human being and not subject to control. He also enjoys locking the camera in place and filming wide, stationary shots as though we are watching the action play out on a stage at a theatre.
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Posted by Brandi Blahnik | Aug 28, 2017
One of the most challenging aspects of storytelling is showing a character thinking. It might sound like a straightforward task, but think about what you look like while studying. Ever watched someone complete a puzzle? It’s a quiet, meditative task marked by trial and error. In reality, there’s remarkably little head-scratching or furrowed brows. Visually, it’s rather unimpressive.
So how does a creator reveal thinking—poring over material, investigative work, head-buried-in-clues research—without absolutely boring the audience? How does a director reinvent frustration, the false lead, the maddening search, particularly over a two-hour film?
David Fincher has made a career of chronicling that very process.
Not only has Fincher produced some of the most haunting detective sequences in film—Se7en, Zodiac, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—but you’d be unlikely to find criticism calling his films boring. He’s a master at tension-building and unapologetic about his resolutions. Perhaps this is why so many of his characters fall prey to their own obsessive madness. The unraveling of a character is something Fincher portrays with patience and deliberateness.
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Annie Leibovitz (Vanity Fair, 2011)
Thanks to Torrance K
Fincher is wearing a “Psycho” themed T-shirt from Soderbergh’s
Spotted by Joe Frady, our cool-director fashion expert.
August 8, 2017
Film School Rejects
Allegiances are never simple in a Fincher film.
David Fincher makes some seriously memorable films. That’s like saying water is wet, but his movies are impeccably crafted without seeming ostentatious or painfully clinical. Arguably, the best part about his films is the talking. You won’t find a film of his where character dynamics aren’t laid bare in the form of a lengthy conversation. Literally putting words on screen has been a landmark of his since the beginning of his film career.
Notably, many of Fincher’s movies crescendo to significant arguments and interrogations, and it is never just run-of-the-mill grilling. He has the ability to make talking – for want of a better term – interesting. Part of what makes his interrogations so enveloping and immersive is the insistent, intimate focus on the subjects at hand. Characters are thrust into settings but also command them in cinematically satisfying ways:
Fincher gives us just enough of any given setting, and the details are always overshadowed by the manner in which the characters move and interact within them. (Jones, 44)
Fincher has a new Netflix series coming out in a couple of months; one which will undoubtedly feature some of his signature wordy conversations. While awaiting the release of Mindhunter, we examine what it takes for him to put together the perfect interrogation scene.
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By Vashi Nedomansky
07 Aug 2017
Analyzing the average shot length (ASL) of films / TV / music videos can be very telling or completely irrelevant. Taken as its own metric…it is just a number. The supposition that action / thriller / sci-fi films genres have a shorter ASL is statistically accurate but that does not mean a longer ASL means less tension, action, drama or intensity.
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Here’s Every Single One of the 2,400 Shots in ‘Gone Girl’ and Other Fincher Movies
August 9, 2017
No Film School
Thanks to film editor Vashi Nedomansky, you can take a bird’s eye view of some popular David Fincher films and analyzing every single shot used.