Fincher's best film is basically an A+ list lurid soap opera, featuring personal bests from director Fincher, star Ben Affleck, and especially Rosamund Pike as the title lady. It's a cautionary tale for all those considering marriage, and an extreme, well-made nightmare for all of us who are wedded to our partners, and wondering what exactly goes on in our significant others' heads, and when things get heated, what could any of us really do?
Fincher's tale about the formation of Facebook is super prescient nowadays. When the story of Mark Zuckerberg and his peers came out in 2010, it was hard to tell how much of a player Facebook would be on the world stage. Now, well…it's worth revisiting this fantastic movie. There's not much violence or profanity going on here, and zero explosions. As far as great dialogue (courtesy of Aaron Sorkin), performances and filmmaking, though – it's as combustible as cinema gets.
Sort of a deeper and more philosophical "Forrest Gump," this meditative epic follows an old man named Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) who has the curious distinction of aging in reverse. Through the decades, his mild manner and thoughtful countenance allow him to be our stand-in as an observer of the good and the bad of 20th century American history. He's also a reminder of how precious life truly is.
Some David Fincher fans and movie buffs might be surprised at how high "The Game" ranks on our list. But this dark, surprising holiday film which casts a rich man (Michael Douglas) on an interactive life path where he'll choose his own adventure whether he likes it or not, is meticulously well-told, and ends on an amusing, bemusing note. Shake off the doldrums and give this film a watch.
Long before Iron Man and the Hulk teamed up in the MCU, stars Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, along with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anthony Edwards, formed a fascinating team of reporters and cops determined to solve the Zodiac serial killer murders that remain unsolved to this day. Audiences weren't sure what to make of the film's trenchant, moody atmosphere and the lack of resolution. But it is one of Fincher's best efforts – a fully realized procedural drama that remains a first-class and haunting experience.
6The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Be sure also to seek out the original European version, but Fincher's take on the popular crime novel is a top-grade follow-up, and Rooney Mara as the punk avenging angel Lisbeth Salander is thrilling to watch. Daniel Craig's in good form as the journalist who believes in her, and Fincher and Mara stay true to the book and original movie's dark and gritty roots.
It's a hallmark film for Fincher and stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. It's a witty and first-rate takedown of '90s consumer culture. And its nihilistic humor and private fights between dudes of all persuasion are hard to take one's eyes off of. Still, the main event here is Pitt's Tyler Durden. The Fight Club founder and soap maker is a Fincher superhero – all brass, balls and endless quotables. Minus the gear and superpowers, we'll take Durden in a one on one fight with anyone.
Made on a modest budget of $33 million, Fincher's breakout hit recouped over ten times that amount. Audiences and critics couldn't get enough of the filmmaker's heavy dread as Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman's detectives track down a killer obsessed with making a point about the seven deadly sins. It all leads up to one of the most shocking and memorable conclusions in movie history.
When it comes down to it, every Fincher-directed movie (and yes, that includes "Alien 3") has a lot to offer cineastes and aspiring filmmakers. Bottom line, the guy is an obsessive person who truly loves film and uses every tool and detail to make great cinema. Our 9th pick, "Panic Room" with Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart, isn't that far removed in terms of quality than Fincher's best film. The story here, about a mom and daughter hiding from home intruders in their panic room, may be simple. But everything about it – cinematography, screenwriting, performance, production design – is top of class. We just listed Fincher's finest 9. But there are only two others, "Alien 3" and "Mank." Those demand viewing, too.
About the Author
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.