Steven Soderbergh: ‘There’s no new oxygen in this system’

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.

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Thanks to Joe Frady

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The Game and Fincher’s Perfect Lonely Protagonist

Posted by Christopher Aguiar | Aug 31, 2017
Audiences Everywhere

Much is said about David Fincher’s obsession with detail, every frame having to believably exist in the world he has created. Furthermore, this attention to detail extends beyond visual narrative storytelling. It also commands every protagonist Fincher has ever brought to life.

One character in particular most mirrors Fincher’s own obsession with perfection—Michael Douglas’ Nicholas van Orton. In The Game, Douglas portrays a character so seduced by the compulsion to maintain his lavish lifestyle that he has subjected himself to a lonely state of living.

It is within the character of van Orton that Fincher brings to life his most honest portrayal of loneliness. Whereas in Gone Girl we were shown loneliness through the prism of married life, or within Fight Club by the shackles of a consumerist society, The Game projects loneliness in its truest form. Unless others place themselves in the same vicinity as van Orton, our protagonist never engages with humanity. He is as internally isolated as he is externally.

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Mr Nerdista
Published on Aug 30, 2017
YouTube

Watching the Music Videos of David Fincher

Posted by Sean W. Fallon | Aug 30, 2017
Audiences Everywhere

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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Seven: The Violence of a Cinematic Hellscape

Posted by David Shreve | Aug 29, 2017
Audiences Everywhere

There are less than 20 gunshots fired in David Fincher’s 1995 film Seven, each exchanged between David Mills and John Doe. If you don’t count Detective Somerset’s late face slap, there is only one wounding act of violence committed onscreen. It’s an oft-shared description offered by cinephiles and aspiring screenwriters and critics: Seven is, in the most basic sense, a non-violent film, even as watching it feels like a very violent viewing experience. For most of its run-time, Seven, which this week celebrates its 20th anniversary, is a noir- serial killer thriller built around already murdered corpses rather than murderous acts. Yet, this basic quantifiable description feels misleading to anyone watching or re-watching the film, anyone caught within or recently escaped from the spiraling trap of the film’s increasingly unsettling, malicious scenes.

Seven is widely credited for displaying influence from prior detective films and inspiring several films of comparable serial killer concern, but few films in either comparative line have less character violence and yet even fewer give as distinct an impression of having witnessed something truly violent.

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How a Thinking Filmmaker Films Thinking: The Shot-By-Shot Slow Burn of David Fincher

Posted by Brandi Blahnik | Aug 28, 2017
Audiences Everywhere

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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Cross-Examining David Fincher’s Interrogations

Sheryl Oh
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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