The movie style of David Fincher.

Quotations from the film have been cited independently in the bibliography.

Fincher’s choice and portrayal of protagonists merit some attention. Frequently, his lead characters are men in a stressful or otherwise unfulfilling job, at odds with the world they inhabit, and with complex and unstable psychologies. Detective William Somerset in Seven is on the verge of retiring from a long career in the police. He repeatedly speaks about the oppressive nature of the city he lives in and how he would like to travel ‘far [a]way from here’. In Fight Club, the unnamed protagonist suffers from insomnia and has to join a slew of support groups to feel like a victim and find his emotional release. He is later revealed to be suffering from Split Personality Disorder as well. In Zodiac, the cartoonist-detective becomes obsessed with trying to solve the Zodiac’s codes and can think of nothing else, leading his second wife to leave him.

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The Game features millionaire Nicholas Van Orton, who, in his brother’s words, was ‘becoming such an asshole’ that he needed an extraordinarily complex and dangerous prank played on him for him to be able to feel again. The Social Network also fictionalises its real-life lead Mark Zuckerberg as someone not really ‘likeable’. Film critic James Lewis Hoberman, in his review of The Social Network, describes the character as ‘a sort of mildly autistic Sammy Glick with a grim 1,000-yard glare’. In the movie itself, the final lines are also directed at Zuckerberg’s character: ‘Youre not an asshole, Mark. Youre just trying so hard to be one’. The social and psychological alienation of his protagonists then, are a recurrent feature in Fincher’s films.

Another thematic concern that pervades Fincher’s oeuvre is contemporary society as a locus of apathy and emotional numbness.

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