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David Fincher is an American film director known for his meticulous process and dark movies, including Alien³, Fight Club and Seven.
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This action thriller starred Michael Douglas as an ultra-wealthy businessman who receives an unusual gift from his brother (Sean Penn)—an adventure with no clear rules orchestrated by a mysterious company. The adventure, however, quickly turns into a battle for survival.
Not one to play it safe, David Fincher delved into dark and twisted territory with Fight Club (1999). Edward Norton starred as a disfranchised office worker who suffers from insomnia and hangs out at support groups. He sheds his boring life after meeting anarchist and soap maker Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), and these two characters start channeling their aggression through bare-fisted, one-on-one battles at their fight club gatherings. The club spawns more clubs and evolves into an underground movement that seeks to create chaos by destroying the offices of credit card companies.
Variety described Fight Club as an "inventive, sustained adrenaline rush of a movie." While the film garnered some positive reviews, it also drew fiery responses from other critics. Some rebuked the film's political leanings while others objected to what they believed was a glorification of violence. Roger Ebert, for example, wrote that Fight Club was "cheerfully fascist," "a celebration of violence," and "macho porn." Fincher was a bit bewildered by the outcries, telling Entertainment Weekly that "I've always thought people would think the film was funny. It’s supposed to be satire. A dark comedy."
Fincher's next film, Panic Room, was released in 2002. The thriller starred Jodie Foster as a mother trying to protect her daughter, played by Kristen Stewart, and herself from a pair of burglars who break into their New York City home. Known to be a stickler for precision, Fincher found the 100-day shoot for the film quite challenging. He and the entire cast and crew worked in only one location for the entire project.
Turning to a true-life story, Fincher next directed Zodiac (2007), named for the infamous California serial killer. The film focused on the people who pursued the killer and how this search changed their lives. Growing up in the area where the murders took place, Fincher described the Zodiac killer as "the ultimate bogeyman." The film was filled with strong performances by Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Jake Gyllenhaal. It received mostly positive reviews.
Fincher next tackled a more fanciful project—one that many considered too difficult to bring to the big screen. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) is based on a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who ages in reverse, starting out as a 70-year-old baby. A master of technique and film technology, Fincher was able to make the character's life journey believable on screen. The film, starring Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button and Cate Blanchett as his love interest, is often described as a love story. However, Fincher described it as "a movie about death."
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From the early days of film, directors have transported audiences from darkened movie theaters to memorable worlds of their own creations. Their artistic visions and technical innovations have made a lasting impression on cinema from early silent films, starring and directed by Charlie Chaplin, to the psychological thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock to the blockbuster hits of Steven Spielberg and so many more. Here is a look at the famous film directors who have made their mark on the big screen.
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