Recently some of you have emailed me about why one name keeps popping up on almost every post I've ever made. Those who have worked with me know that I bring his name up every time I talk about a great tracking shot, a gruesome story, a dark (pun intended) way of lighting, snappy edits or even a way of using more takes than usual.
Ever since I thought of pursuing a career in film/TV and re-watched "Fight Club", I was almost dumbfounded. When I first watched it when I was a kid, about 16, it was a cool movie. The ending was great, the premise/plot was cool and hey, I wanted that Brad Pitt eight pack and beat the crap out of anyone. When I watched it again, with all the knowledge of the George Lucas School of Cinematic Arts instilled in me, it was so much more than that. I think I've watched that movie at least once every month after that. Why? Because for me its the perfect movie. What is the perfect movie? The movie that offers everything and is not ashamed to hide anything. The social commentary is off the charts. Released in 1999, the political notion of Project Mayhem still resonates today, with the global economy crumbling and privatization and corporation out to take out the smaller dogs. Wanna fix this? Take out all the big shots and start again, from the rubble. I think I've moulded my life from what Tyler Durden says throughout the movie. One great piece of dialogue I'll never forget:
"I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off. "
People ask me why I named my company Damage Inc. (apart from the fact that I'm a Metallica nut), but the idea is Tyler Durden's. The Dhaka media scene is so messed up, you gotta start damaging the big guns with all the aces and then rebuild the "scene" from the ground up. New faces, new dogmas, new material.
Now lets talk about the movie itself from a cinematic viewpoint. The cinematography and editing was brilliant (that opening sequence was hella awesome), Ed Norton became my favorite actor, the music was great and who knew Meat Loaf could act? I'm no Roger Ebert, so I can't explain how great the film is, so if you haven't seen it, please do so. I think its film making at its best.
Fight Club was only the beginning. There are other almost equally great films: Se7en, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (which was a far superior film than Slumdog), The Social Network (far better than the King's Speech) and recently, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I don't even know how many times I've seen these movies. Each time, they only seem to get better. Most of the shots, edits, color grades, stories I do have these movies written all over them. I made a camera rig just to take some of those shots and even named it after him. Rob Zombie once said, "Every guitar riff in metal is based off a Black Sabbath riff". I can easily say, "Every shot I've ever taken is based off a David Fincher scene."
I've had the pleasure of meeting the man himself and it was the best 20 minutes of my entire life. We talked the entire time about nothing but his philosophy of cinema. Why he made the move to digital and RED, why he thrived in making dark and dismal thrillers and how he said FU to the big shots of Hollywood and made his own "my way or the highway" attitude. Inspirational.
He's also introduced us to so many new things we would have never been aware of. The new kid playing Spiderman, Jesse Eisenberg being a household name and before her OSCAR nomination for the portrayal of the US version of Lisbeth Salander, when did you hear of Rooney Mara? Using NiN man Trent Reznor for brilliant scores and making him win an OSCAR in a category reigned mostly by classical musicians, sheer genius. There is so much more I can babble about him. Most people are convinced I'm in love with him. I may indeed be. If someone says they don't care much of his films, I usually never even talk with them, let alone work with them. All I can say is that without David Fincher, I would never be who I am today.