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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Carrie Coon on working with David Fincher

The very talented and charming Carrie Coon (don’t miss her superb performances on “The Leftovers” and the 3rd season of “Fargo) offers some insights into her experience working for the first time in a film. A David Fincher film.

 

From minute 28:28 to 33:52:

Conversations with Carrie Coon of FARGO

SAG-AFTRA Foundation
Published on May 12, 2017
YouTube

Q&A with Carrie Coon of FARGO. Moderated by Jarett Wieselman, BuzzFeed.

 

From minute 21:31 to 29:51:

Carrie Coon’s Amazing Five Years

Little Gold Men (Vanity Fair)
August 10, 2017
Overcast

Podcast: 53:57

Emmy-nominated actress Carrie Coon stops by to talk Leftovers, Fargo, and what’s next.

Neil Patrick Harris Will Gladly Talk You Through His Gory Gone Girl Sex Scene

May 21, 2017
Vulture

For Gone Girl’s memorable sex scene — its climax ending in a pool of blood — Neil Patrick Harris and Rosamund Pike spent a whole afternoon working through the scene with the “exacting” director David Fincher and, at one point, with Ben Affleck looking on. “[Fincher] was asking us to have unbridled sex — and my character is really into her so is very overwhelmed with — with great precision,” Harris said. He broke down the scene in a conversation at Vulture Festival, moment to moment: “We were just rehearsing porn for hours.”

Watch the video