David Fincher’s ‘Seven’ & ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

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Are there any mainstream American filmmakers who have carved out as distinctive a niche as David Fincher? His subject matter may vary from time to time, but he tends to keep one topic close at hand: serial killers. His breakout feature, Seven (or Se7en if you prefer) started the thematic throughline back in 1995, and it continues all the way through to his adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Ricky D, Justine Smith, and newly minted co-host Julian Carrington are here to assess the carnage.


Music Playlist

Karen O – “Immigrant Song”

Nine Inch Nails – “Closer”

  1. John says

    I came across this podcast while doing a random search on itunes and had to make the following comment. You guys are really lost and don’t know what your talking about. Seriously, I listened patiently and waited for you guys to say something substantial about the film,director but half way into the podcast I was still waiting. Whoever the female podcaster was, its ok we get it that you dont like David Fincher but you dont need to go on and on about what you did not like about the film when your suppose to discuss the merits of the film and its director. I think you lost the plot early on when you said “I like how vibrant the production design is in this film(Seven)” .

    NEWSFLASH “David Fincher’s films are fucking dark”.

    Please do your homework before you talk about the respective directors.

    1. Ricky says

      Interesting comment. Grant it, it was one of our weakest shows but regardless, your comment makes me assume that you are not a person who should put himself in any position to listen to someone’s opinion. I just listened to this show again. There are three hosts with three very different opinions. I just feel like you can’t handle hearing someone else’s point of view unless they 100 % reflect your personal thoughts.

      You make it sound like we don’t like Fincher when we spent the majority of the film praising his work.

      We spent an hour discussing his films and yet someone leaves us one simple paragraph with little if nothing to say about the director, yet he feels the right to tell us to do our homework. Either you should try to be a bit more open minded and maybe listen closely or stay away from podcasts in general.

      1. John says

        Dude, you didn’t even mention Darius Khondji and you were talking about a film that is widely known to have changed the way the audience view crime genre movies.

        1. Ricky says

          Some of the many points I mentioned in a nutshell:

          Seven breaks most expectations for this sort of genre piece.
          An intensely claustrophobic thriller .
          A dark, stylish thriller.
          Ranks as one of the decade’s most influential box-office successes.
          Weirdly off-kilter.
          Chock full of suspense.
          Goes well beyond the usual police procedural or serial killer film.
          Superb craftsmanship
          Fantastic performance by Morgan Freeman.
          Somewhat of a buddy cop picture
          Has a great script, by first-time screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker.
          A lot of imagination.
          Something out of a Clive Barker potboiler.
          The killer has the most organized murder agenda that it seems rather impossible to even comprehend how much time was spent planning.
          What is unique about it is that the murders themselves are not actually depicted.
          What’s great about Seven is the mystery isn’t who the killer is – it doesn’ t matter who the killer is – the mystery is the crime and what is in the box.
          The police are his pawns, not the other way around – that is what is so great about this movie
          Totally unpredictable
          Set in a hellish vision of a city that resembles New York but isn’t ever named
          Fincher used a film-processing technique that deepens tonal qualities, making whites harsher and casting lots of shadows
          We should also mention one of the best credit sequences of all time
          The credits sequence, with its near-subliminal flashes of psycho paraphernalia is one of the best.

          In 35 minutes, with three hosts, we can’t mention everything. Often you forget and sometimes you run out of time. BUT I’d think twice before challenging my knowledge of movies.

          Maybe you just didn’t like Justine’s negative remarks that you didn’t hear all the positive things that were said. We sit down and discuss movies in a civil manner. Often we don’t agree but never once has any of my co-hosts nor guests been angry over a conversation about film.

          1. john says

            Hey man, I dont know why you feel that I have questioned your knowledge about movies. Its like you said, you might tend to miss out on few aspects of a film given the time limit and you could not mention the work of Khondji on se7en or Howard Shore.

            I appreciate you acknowledging that it was not your best podcast, which is something not many would say. Good luck with your podcast, hope my comments were helpful.

            1. Ricky says

              I think it was the comment that said:

              Please do your homework before you talk about the respective directors.

              Assuming it was meant for all three hosts.

              I have no personal beef with you. I don’t know you but I’ll of course I’ll defend myself.

              We are the third oldest film review show online with a huge audience. We are not perfect but I think we are doing something right. AS for Howard Shore… if only I could count the number of times I praised that man on the podcast. Long time listeners will tell you his name comes up often. But yes we always appreciate feedback so thank you.

  2. tmack says

    What always fascinated me about 7 was my being unable to definitively locate it in either time or place. More than place, the time period nagged me. Could you tell by the clothing, absence of certain technology? Back when it opened, the film could have taken place during any one of several decades. I thought that was mesmerizing and said something about the kind of world these police people lived in, one that was ruled by crime…always. A life in crime that sucked you into it so that you barely had time to have a normal life. This is what Somerset is trying to escape and what Pitt’s character naively, immaturely wants to embrace.

    I don’t have problems with Pitt’s performance in this film. He’s playing a grown up child, arrogant, overconfident but ultimately unprepared for this world he thinks he has come into with mastery. That Somerset finds a way to like him and a desire to protect him is the heartbreaking aspect of this film. Even with Somerset’s experience and wisdom, his ability to control his emotions, he fails to protect his partner and his partner’s wife. Perhaps that’s why “what’s in the box” really doesn’t work, because the pain is Somerset’s in that he didn’t deserve what came to him, while his partner did.

    7 is one of my favorite films, one of my favorite Fincher films. Wouldn’t be able to say whether I like it more or less than Zodiac–depends purely on my mood.

    With Girl, I just couldn’t see enough of a reason for a remake, though I admired the better look of the film. I preferred Rapace’s harder, boyish Salander to Mara’s. It seemed to fit in better with the brutality of Salander’s world and explain how it had transformed her into a distorted person.

    Fincher is simply a master at storytelling on film. Anyone who could make me like a movie about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg is a genius.

  3. Mario in Philly says

    You make a good point stating that Daniel Craig’s storyline is more interesting in the Fincher version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Perhaps Fincher could relate better to that plot point by seemingly giving it more onscreen time rather than the female pov, which as you mention is problematic from the source material. Having said that, the original title of the first book in the series is “Men Who Hate Women.” So perhaps it really is more about Lisbeth Salander as a victim trying to overcome the men who have offended her.
    I was totally against a remake but since I was invited to a free screening I went, and found myself absorbed back into the story. Rooney Mara eventually won me over but I would say the better Salander is still Noomi Rapace. Part of that could be that I’ve invested more time in Rapace, having seen the three original films.
    The Fincher version generally has the better look and pacing and tweaks a few details at the end, which I’m not sure why it was done except that it might have been easier to explain. Not sure why the story changes…

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