Proclaiming any filmmaker to be “the next Stanley Kubrick” seems hyperbolic and a bit unfair. There might not ever really be another Stanley Kubrick the same way there won’t be another Ingmar Bergman or Orson Welles. But if you had to narrow it down to one pick, David Fincher might not be a bad one. Like Kubrick, Fincher is uncompromising in bringing his vision to the screen; he is reputed as a perfectionist, as someone who will go through however many takes he feels is necessary to get right to the heart of a scene. Fincher’s worldview is similarly icy, cold and defiantly unsentimental. Where do the similarities begin and end? In a new entry in The Directors Series, (courtesy of Open Culture) we examine the two director’s work side by side to see where Kubrick ends and Fincher begins.
Personally, I don’t really buy the claim that Fincher is the new Kubrick. I think that to label any director as “the new anything” (Paul Thomas Anderson as “the new Robert Altman,” Wes Anderson as “the new Hal Ashby”) is to dismiss the inherent gifts that make the younger directors unique in the first place. Kubrick truly made movies across the spectrum of genre – psychological horror, period pieces, literary adaptations and mind-bending sci-fi – whereas Fincher, with a few exceptions, works very much within the thriller wheelhouse (though he too has branched out, with more atypical like “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and his much-maligned sci-fi entry into the “Alien” franchise).
The video examines Fincher’s beginnings as a music video director, all while pinpointing the visual style and motifs that would blossom in his later cinematic work. To be sure, both Kubrick and Fincher are clinical, intellectual filmmakers with a preference for the crisp, finely composed image and a pronounced distaste for schmaltz. But spotting the differences in approach turns out to be the most fascinating element of this series, and it’s definitely one worth examining.
Watch all the videos (five in total, weighing in over three hours when put together) in their entirety below and let us know what you think.