Movie Reviews

The 10 Best Performances In David Fincher Movies

Renowned filmmaker David Fincher is hard at work on The Killer, his upcoming action thriller which is set to star Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton. There are a lot of trademarks of Fincher films that are likely to be present in The Killer including stellar performances by the cast.

Fassbender and Swinton are great actors and since Fincher gets top-notch work out of his cast, they can join the impressive array of performers who have shined in his movies. Some went on to be nominated for major awards, some have chilled audiences with their portrayals, and some are underrated but deserve love.

Like a lot of major filmmakers, David Fincher has a handful of actors who he works with on a regular basis. Brad Pitt is one of those performers, having appeared in three of his films beginning with Se7en. He had roles that could be considered the second lead until he got the protagonist part in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Based on a short story of the same name, Pitt played the titular Benjamin Button, a man who ages in reverse. Pitt brought a vulnerability to the character and nailed him at every age, earning himself a Best Actor Oscar nomination, which was the first time he was up for an Academy Award in over a decade.

David Fincher is the kind of director who can deliver a thrilling film on both a large and small scale. He did that with the latter setup in Panic Room, telling a story about a mother and daughter who have their home invaded by a group of thieves.

While the supporting cast is strong including Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and a young Kristen Stewart, it is Jodie Foster who shined the brightest. She truly felt like a mother in distress but also one who showed toughness in the face of danger. It earned her a Saturn Award nomination.

For the most part, there weren’t a ton of positive reviews for Fight Club upon its release. In fact, many critics weren’t pleased with the film and even some moviegoers didn’t like it but over time, it became one of the most iconic cult classics ever.

The performances of the two main actors are a huge reason for its success. Edward Norton’s turn as The Narrator is sometimes overlooked next to Brad Pitt’s work as the effortlessly cool Tyler Durden yet it’s the nuanced and subtle effort that makes this character work. Norton has to be much more dialed back compared to Durden and makes it work.

On paper, telling the story of the creation of Facebook doesn’t seem like it would make for the most interesting movie, yet the combination of David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin made The Social Network into something spectacular. To play Mark Zuckerberg, Jesse Eisenberg was called upon.

Eisenberg had a tough job as he was tasked with portraying a protagonist who was designed to be unlikable. That’s not something that happens often, yet Eisenberg managed to bring the character to life and landed a Best Actor Oscar nod.

The most recent movie released by David Fincher was Mank, which ended up being another critical darling for Netflix. Based on a screenplay his father wrote, Fincher made this film in his honor to tell the tale of screenwriter Herman J. Makewicz and how he developed Citizen Kane.

The standout performance in this film came from Amanda Seyfried as real-life actor Marion Davies. Every scene that she appeared in stole the show from everyone else to the point where Seyfried landed an Academy Award nomination.

After starting his feature film career with Alien 3, which was met with mixed reviews, Fincher’s next release Se7en was a huge hit. Led by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, the film followed two detectives who investigate a killer patterning his murders after the seven deadly sins.

Although the movie is filled with strong performances, the veteran know-how of Morgan Freeman was a highlight. You got the sense that he was truly a hardened detective who was dealing with something he couldn’t fully fathom. It’s a major reason why he was up for a Saturn Award.

The novels by Stieg Larsson and the Swedish adaptations starring Noomi Rapace set a high bar for David Fincher’s American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. With such high expectations, it needed a powerful leading performance and Rooney Mara delivered.

Mara went all-in for the role of Lisbeth Salander, dying and cutting her hair along with getting the piercings Lisbeth had. She was up for a handful of awards (including at the Oscars and Golden Globes) and nailed nearly every mannerism of the character from the books. Unfortunately, a sequel was never greenlit.

As noted earlier, Brad Pitt’s performance as Tyler Durden has become the stuff of legend. He shows up in Fight Club to immediately change the status quo for The Narrator, bringing a coolness and edge into his life, leading to the start of the titular club. He was the perfect embodiment of the ’90s grunge era.

Although Pitt wasn’t mentioned much around awards season, his work has withstood the test of time. In fact, there is no more recognizable character in any David Fincher film than Tyler Durden and a huge reason for that is how Pitt portrays him, always being the center of attention.

There’s no David Fincher movie with a more shocking plot twist than Gone Girl. The first half of the movie has you wondering where Amy Elliott Dunne went as she has gone missing but then it flips things on its head and reveals that she set up her entire disappearance.

It’s an iconic scene thanks to the work of Rosamund Pike as Amy. At times, she comes across as a victim but in most cases, Pike brings to life the chilling aspects of this conniving and cunning character. Her Oscar-nominated performance is kind of scary to sit through because it’s so good.

If Mark Zuckerberg was designed to be unlikable, The Social Network needed someone for the audience to root for. That person was Eduardo Saverin, who was one of the co-founders of Facebook and a former friend of Zuckerberg in college.

Saverin was played by Andrew Garfield in his breakout role. While almost every aspect of the movie was met with critical acclaim, Garfield’s performance seemed to get the most praise. His snub at the Academy Awards was a talking point but he was thankfully nominated at the Golden Globes.

NEXT: David Fincher’s 10 Best Movies, According To Metacritic

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