David Fincher is a director people just love to analyze. He has ten films under his belt and, like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, he has a very clear, easily recognizable visual style and cinephiles love to explore the intent behind his stylistic choices. To his credit, Fincher often feeds into that obsession, thanks to the wonderfully insightful audio commentaries he’s provided for each of his movies. Furthermore, a list he created of his all-time favorite films found its way onto the internet a few years ago. A list that includes films from Hitchcock (“Vertigo”) , Kubrick (“Dr. Strangelove”), Polanski (“Chinatown”), and Spielberg (“Jaws”). While the influence of those first three directors can be easily pinpointed throughout Fincher’s work, even some of Fincher’s more ardent fans may be surprised to find out that the films of Steven Spielberg have also had a profound effect on the director.
Luckily, video essayist Michael Bryant has made a 3-minute video that demonstrates the similarities between these master craftsmen. Whether it’s their use of close-ups on faces, the slow zoom, shadows/lighting, or tracking shots, Bryant shows how Fincher has taken these visual elements from Spielberg and made them his own. It’s a very compelling video, but let’s face it, every major filmmaker who has come of age in the ‘70s and ‘80s have most likely been profoundly influenced by Spielberg on some level. Tarantino, Gareth Edwards, and Jeff Nichols each listed “Jaws” as one of their all-time favorite films when they partook in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll. So, really, Bryant’s video is just a testament to how Spielberg can make such an impact on wide range of filmmakers, even the ones who may not seem so similar on the surface. Check it out below.