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Monday, September 15, 2014
Top 10 performances in David Fincher's films
|By Sati.||Monday, September 15, 2014||Alien 3, David Fincher, David Fincher Blog Event, Fight Club, Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, Zodiac|
Whenever there is a new Fincher's movie there is always Oscar talk. Sometimes people do get in but on occasion they're not the ones who most root for to be nominated - what the fuck did Brad Pitt actually do in The Curious Case of the Benjamin Button? Another thing? I was always baffled by Eisenberg being the one who was nominated for Social Network.
Out of the performances listed here only one made it this far in Awards season. But it's not really about that. The real praise comes from movie fans. Fincher's movies, always filled with so many amazing actors and performances, are extremely well cast and provide actors with such tremendous opportunities. So with all of that, being the standout in the cast is an accomplishment in itself.
10. Sigourney Weaver / Alien 3
While the film is a mess, Weaver's performance is, as usual with Alien movies, the best thing about it. The script is a disaster, the execution was butchered by the studio but no one managed to ruin Weaver's work who yet again gave us our beloved, fearless Ripley.
9. Justin Timberlake / The Social Network
Fincher has a real gift for casting his movies. People always raise their eyebrows when they hear of his choices before they see the movie, Gone Girl has several instances of that. And it was also the case with Timberlake. But he was truly fantastic in the role and I cannot imagine anyone else playing his narcissistic and delusional character.
8. Kevin Spacey / Se7en
While Spacey is excellent in the role, I always thought the praise he got at the expense of much better Freeman was a bit much. Still it's an unforgettable performance and you have to give him the credit for suggesting to the studio they keep him out of opening credits and marketing for the film to surprise the audience more when he shows up.
7. Tilda Swinton / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
While I do love the movie and I find it to be very beautiful and life-affirming, the main two actors, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, never felt sincere in their roles for me. Thank God for Tilda Swinton who with her brief screen time brought so much genuine joy and energy to the screen. It's like in emotional wasteland she was the single beating heart left.
6. Helena Bonham Carter / Fight Club
Fincher said about her -"When Helena came on set, you could see she was either ready or she wasn’t. When she was ready, no matter what you said, she wouldn’t look at you; she was in Marla mode. She was like this little train burrowing along with puffs of cigarette smoke trailing behind her." And this is who Marla is. For someone so miserable and depressed there is some strange determination to her. Both Narrator and Tyler are such memorable characters but Helena as Marla never once gives them a chance to steal the spotlight.
5. Daniel Craig / The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
This is such an underrated performance. Craig never disappears even though he shares so many scenes with the hurricane that is Mara in that movie. He manages to convincingly portray ordinary, clumsy, sweet guy. And never once you think you are watching James Bond on the screen.
I forgot to use that screenshot in my funniest moments list, when Mikael makes that face as the villain rambles on. It always makes me laugh.
4. John Carroll Lynch / Zodiac
Lynch is in Zodiac for a very short while but he manages to steal the movie with ease from other actors. He only needs few minutes to convince the audience that he is the Zodiac killer. The truth may have never been proved and Fincher probably wanted you to have doubts, but Lynch manages to be so menacing, creepy, odd and threatening that you have no doubts. It's only even more impressive that the same actor played Madge's sweet husband in Fargo. Just think what he will do as murderous clown in upcoming season of American Horror Story.
3. Andrew Garfield / The Social Network
It's not easy to succeed in a role like that - being a supporting player when there are so many vivid supporting players and you get to play the good guy who keeps failing, not athletic twins or energetic entrepreneur. But Garfield, who by the way played a complete asshole in Never Let Me Go so successfully, is so sweet, naive and convincing in the movie. In spite of being outmaneuvered his character never feels like a punching bag. There's a great deal of humour here too - with the chicken story and Eduardo closing his eyes as Sean rambles on because it's actually pains him to hear his bullshit. But the best ones are those moments when Eduardo takes control and snaps at Mark and Sean calling them on their bullshit and Garfield completely steals the show in the process.
2. Morgan Freeman / Se7en
I wrote a great deal about Freeman's beautiful work here. This is my favorite performance of his and he was just a perfect choice for the part. He plays such a calm, mature and good man that it's in the moments he loses control that you really feel frightened watching this movie.
1. Rooney Mara / The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Mara's work here is so fantastic that it's not only my best actress win for that year (beating even Charlize Theron in Young Adult, who played a character so close to my heart in one of my favorite movies ever) but it's one of my all time favorite performances. Mara achieves something that is perhaps the rarest thing for the actress to achieve - her performance is the perfect bland of badass and subtle with Lisbeth being a tough woman who can kill and a helpless little girl who just needs someone close, sometimes being both of those at the same time. Her wordless work in the film's ending remains one of the most brilliantly acted out scenes I've ever seen.
I predict that Pike will top this list once I see Gone Girl. Casting of Mara was inspired. Casting of Pike is a strike of a genius and the best casting decision Fincher has ever made.