A new video essay analyzes David Fincher‘s camera movements, and one seemingly obvious detail may have gone unnoticed by practically everyone. Fincher is one of the most critically-acclaimed filmmakers working in the industry today, having made well-known films such as Fight Club, Gone Girl, and The Social Network, as well as Seven, The Game, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, among others – all of which have been universally praised by critics and audiences alike. He’s even dabbled in television as well, directing and producing Netflix’s Mindhunter and House of Cards.
While many moviegoers would have at least seen one of his movies over the years, those who haven’t would still be able to tell they are watching a David Fincher movie simply by analyzing the details. Aside from his constant use of muted colors, Fincher’s camera movements are what makes his films identifiable. Of course, the average moviegoer may not be able to determine which camera movements Fincher utilizes, but this new video essay may be able to help with that predicament.
The YouTube channel Nerdwriter1 recently published a video essay, titled “How David Fincher Hijacks Your Eyes,” that explores David Fincher’s choice camera movements, and the result is quite obvious, yet easily overlooked. Fincher, apparently, moves the camera – either by tilting, panning, or tracking – along with characters’ emotions and movements. For instance, if a character sits back in his chair, the camera will move with the character, no matter how small the movement may be. You can watch the video above for more detail.
Fincher revels in creative freedom. After all, the adverse experience he had working with 20th Century Fox on Alien 3 – going through principal photography without a completed script, plus having his cut of the film sliced and diced and reworked by the studio – significantly affected his career, convincing him never to make another movie without the ability to control each and every aspect. That’s, in part, why his fans will never see him direct a comic book movie.
The filmmaker’s style of directing may not be unique, but it’s certainly something that he has mastered, while also appearing noticeably different from other auteur directors. For instance, while Fincher captures emotion through movement, someone like Denis Villeneuve – who’s becoming more and more recognizable thanks to movies such as Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049 – captures emotion through silence and, particularly, the lack of movement. Where the two directors meet, though, is through their long shots, something that’s becoming increasingly more common nowadays.
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