David Fincher’s greatest gift to cinema is keeping alive the character-based drama of 1970s films. In other words, he’s really good at filming people talk. For the most part, Zodiac and The Social Network are a collection of people discussing what’s going on while they sip coffee, and it’s completely enthralling. Mindhunter, his latest project, expands on what he does best, which is put some characters in a room, and have them push forward the story through dialogue. Mostly about terrible men.
But the elephant in the room is the modern state of film, which is wrapped in colorful spandex. In a recent talk posted by Yellow King Film Boy, Fincher got some laughs from the audience with his insight on Marvel Studios. But, in typical Fincher form, his initially dark and cynical outlook on things ended up on a positive note for the future:
“Look, there’s a very large talent pool of people who are… don’t feel there’s much for them in terms of sustenance working for Marvel. And I think that if we can make a playground for them that is thoughtful, adult, interesting, complex, challenging stories and figure out ways to pull them into it, there’s a chance at something that isn’t lassoed and hogtied by three acts. And there’s something else that doesn’t have to be a 22-minute half hour or have a cliffhanger.
I think it is an exciting time. I don’t think we should look at this and say ‘the golden age of television is over, movies suck.'”
Fincher went on to explain that culture is different, just like in the ’70s when studios were cranking out classics that possibly wouldn’t be made today, and that was a reflection of the culture. The director of Seven, Fight Club and Gone Girl made an interesting analogy on the subject to the Financial Times, which furthered his thoughts on the state of movies.
“The cinema isn’t dead. It just does something different. The place is still filled with kids, it’s just they’re all on their phones. It’s a social event like a bonfire, and the movie is the bonfire. It’s why people gather but it’s not actually there to be looked at. Because the bonfire is always the same.”
Granted, he did continue on in that interview, stating that there was no time for character anymore, and all movies are about saving the world from destruction, with a ticking clock as the spine of the narrative. He continues by saying, “in this show, it’s hard to find the ticking clock. But the thing is: I don’t care if the whole scene is five pages of two people in a car sipping coffee from paper cups as long as there’s a fascinating power dynamic and I learn something about them.”
The guy will do anything to get people to sip coffee and talk on camera. Hopefully that happens often in World War Z 2.