David Fincher takes Heavy material

David Fincher and his tryst with violence and new found melodrama.


The last couple of years have witnessed some singular films from really young directors like David Fincher. With the Zodiac and Curious Case of Benjamin Button, he reached a level of invisibility that is unlike any other filmmaker. He has now gone headlong into various projects of varying degree of violence. This is certainly a good sign for the genre that has been missing him to a certain extent.

Fincher has been eyeing to projects in particular. One of them is erotica heavy graphic novels called Heavy Metal. The first time this was reported people began to take old volumes of the novel and see where they play to go with this. But at the time David Fincher was not alone Guillermo Del Toro as well as Zach Snyder were part of this as well. Del Toro has been busy at work for his Hobbit project that has still not passed the casting stages.

Now there is also the inclusion of James Cameron in the fray. So it will boost its chances to get this made. To see something from David Fincher in this Heavy Metal world will be an invigorating experience. With his past experience in movies like Seven and Fight Club, he is already familiar with that world. We can surely give the Zach Snyder piece a miss.

But there has always been a collection of directors surrounding this project. In the beginning we had Gore Verbinski being part of the segments. The look of the film will involve a lot of post production. So each of the directors involved should start working on the look for the film. I hope they don’t take too many cinematic liberties in this film.

AngelinaSecondly Fincher might be working on a remake of the hugely successful Stieg Larsson Millenium Trilogy. Angelina Jolie in the beginning was said to be attached to this. Here is a film that could test many of the genre specifications of Hollywood. There is also a chance the film might not even see a distributor because of its dark tones. David Fincher is known to be a very detailed and clinical director. So it will be interesting to see what he does with this repulsive yet thoughtful material.

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Everyone’s eyes have been focusing on Carey Mulligan after her turn in The Education. She might assay the role of Lisbeth from the film. She has even cut her hair in that fashion. But will the Hollywood version because of the high production values have the character dress better. It will really kill the whole scene. When viewing the original it is difficult to take your eyes from the stark reality. Lisbeth goes through several mood swings because of her Aspergers Syndrome. She is tormented by her guardian and also several other people she works with. It leaves in a situation where there is even a small victory on her part it breathes a sign of relief for the audience. Such was the impact of the book and its premise.

Once again this is a world which David Fincher has lived and breathed before. The social torment is something he worked on his film Zodiac. But it was capturing the fear of that time. Fear was created in peoples thoughts through terror. Terror creates fear and then eventually war. The intellectual breeding of war is always represented subtly in Fincher’s films like Fight Club.

Fight Club showed us how violence can influence changes in personalities creating alter egos that are so far removed from ourselves. Fincher’s earlier work got into the skin of the subconscious. It left so much room for turning over things that we have taken for granted. Brad Pitt is once again as a character that makes our mind digress away from what the story holds for us. It leaves a lot of questions swirling through our heads. Who are we to judge sanity? What is really freedom of thought? Who controls all our thoughts at this very moment?

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There is also an inclusion of the media in many of his most recent film. It brings in a suspension of disbelief. For instance in the case of Tilda Swinton’s character in Curious Case of Benjamin Button: she had once long tried to swim across the English Channel but she failed. Then there is a black and white TV broadcast which gives us a sense of time and place where her character is seen completing the swim at a very late stage of her life. So the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that is the first in Larsson series will fit really well in the Fincher scheme of things.

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But these two films can also once again shift back David Fincher’s total ideas on film. So I’m not really sure if he will go back to those human psyche dramas. David Fincher will be better suited to create a palette which has no place and time prescribed to it. The Heavy Metal magazines seem to be locking in on that. But it is at time crass and commonplace when it comes to its ideas of sexuality. Interest in sexuality has sort of waned after the Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut. It was a more like an education on the harsh turns sexuality can take you through. Will David Fincher attempt something of that nature in the coming future? Or will he still stray into the melodrama?

Fincher’s direction became more ambiguous with his last film. Brad Pitt has worked with him in two other movies; was not really certain where David was going with this. But a lot of his style came out in that beautiful scene where he discusses chance encounters. Encounters shaping your very character or life, and leaves you in a state of disarray. Where loneliness becomes a friend you slowly turn to. David Fincher goes further to tell us about the effects of these moments on how we live. It is in these fruitful interludes we some of the masterstrokes of this provocative artist. It won’t really matter what he takes up between the two of these films. The detailing in his films will make you want more.


John has a keen sense of what ticks in the world of film. He can also be seen in three distinct short film titled Woken Shell, The Tea Shop in the Moon and The Waiting. Cinema has been the basic diet he has been on for the last 10 years. His personality can be judged by the choices of his films.


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