When we think of CGI, we don’t exactly think of David Fincher. Known for labyrinthine mystery thrillers, Fincher is unwavering in his dedication to detail, as this gripping new video essay explains. Kaptain Kristian charts Fincher’s obsessive eye, uncovering how the director has used visual effects to achieve a historically accurate skyline or a meticulous timeline of events. But Fincher never sacrifices story for the sake of flashy effects; he only uses CG techniques to enhance his storytelling.
One example is in “Zodiac,” the 2007 murder thriller set in 1960s San Francisco. Fincher used CGI in almost every background shot in order to achieve the most accurate view of the city as it was. Additionally, Fincher rarely uses make-up blood, preferring CGI splatters. In the bathroom scene in “The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo,” every drop of blood is done in CGI. Similar techniques were used for the slightly off-center part in Lisbeth’s (Rooney Mara) bangs, and the post-its on Miguel’s (Daniel Craig) evidence boards.
“His films are about details. His characters are investigators and detectives and obsessives and those traits are all reflected in the filmmaking,” says Kristian. “His visual effects are always in service of the story. Fincher understands that what technology you use is never important. It’s about how you use that technology to communicate your vision.”
The video ends with this quote from Fincher: “It takes titanium and aluminum and steel and glass and lasers to do one thing, impart feeling. And that’s the magic of cinema.”
Indulge your inner film nerd and check it out: