“I value the ability to stage something well, because when it’s done well, its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master. it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes,” Steven Soderbergh recently wrote. “Minefields EVERYWHERE. Fincher said it: there’s potentially a hundred different ways to shoot something, but at the end of the day, there’s really only two, and one of them is wrong.” And indeed, the latter sentiment is the title of the excellent visual essay below that celebrates Fincher’s technical virtuosity.
While the filmmaker is known for no shortage of bravura sequences (for example, the three level, digitally assisted single shot break-in in “Panic Room“), the hundreds of smart, effective choices he makes at every moment in his movies are less acknowledged much less frequently. And the essay, by Every Frame A Painting is fascinating and well contextualized, showing how Fincher makes everything count, from simple exposition heavy two heads talking scenes, to his careful use of handheld cameras, to closeups, which he rarely utilizes.
This is terrific stuff, allowing you to gain a whole new appreciation for Fincher’s craft. Be sure to watch it below. And check out our Fincher features this week where we’ve looked at his music videos, his unmade projects, and ranked his movies.