Movie Review: David Fincher’s Films Ranked


Image from Netflix

“Mank” released on Netflix on Dec. 4.

After taking the longest break in his film career to work on the show “Mindhunter” for Netflix, David Fincher finally returns to the screen with his latest film “Mank” which was released on Netflix Dec. 4. There’s no better time than now to rank his films from worst to first.



#11. Alien 3

Image from 20th Century Studios

Of all the films listed on Fincher’s directing credits, “Alien 3” is the only one where the negatives outweigh the positives. Set directly after the events of “Aliens” directed by James Cameron; Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Newt (Carrie Henn), and Hicks (Michael Biehn) are all that is left of the crew that faced off against the Xenomorph Queen and her children, or so we think. A sequel that opens up killing off two of our protagonists, undermining the victory of our heroes in the previous film, will never set you up for a good time. You can’t fault this all towards Fincher in his first project; it has been well known that studio meddling behind the scenes was present after he was kicked off in post-production. Sigourney Weaver tries her best to carry this film to the finish line, but ultimately the weak plot and horrendous CGI on the Xenomorphs make it nearly unwatchable and to this day Fincher himself disowns the film.


#10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Image from Warner Bros. Pictures

Taking the extremely odd concept of watching a  person who was born an old man and ages backwards is as weird as it sounds. The film packs all the emotional beats you may find in a story about a man who wasn’t exactly able to live the life he truly wanted, all thanks to the reverse perspective performance given by Brad Pitt in his third time teaming with Fincher. But for some reason I was never able to take the concept seriously, especially during the first act of the film. The idea presented had so much potential and delivers a lot of the uniqueness you’d expect, but we also get a lot of familiarity.


#9. Panic Room

Image from Sony Pictures

This is undoubtedly the least ambitious film Fincher has tried to make, and is simply a home invasion story. The acting across the board is phenomenal: Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and even a young Kristen Stewart! You even find sympathy toward the criminals at certain points. But the film needed to incorporate more material. It’s way too straightforward and is very predictable. Having almost the entire movie take place in one single, claustrophobic location slows down the pacing immensely.


#8. The Game

Image from Propaganda Films

The story of “The Game” throws enough curveballs at you to keep you guessing throughout the movie, but there’s a ridiculous amount of disbelief you need to suspend along the way. While the audience  rewatches the film and can piece things together, it’s thrilling, but ultimately disappointing because it only leads to an underwhelming and unsatisfying conclusion. Michael Douglas continues to keep the film alive with a great performance, but it is nowhere near his best work.


#7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Image from Sony Pictures

Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig’s characters have enough of a broken past to make the audience care about them during the three hour runtime of this movie, so there’s a lot going on. The film opens  many paths where characters may converge, and it never takes the easy way out of any situation. But as the film concludes, they need to tie off each and every plot point, causing the movie to drag on longer than it needed to be.



#6. Mank

Image from Netflix

David Fincher redefined the term “biopic” through “Mank.” Not only does the movie go back to the time period where Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz raced to finish the screenplay for “Citizen Kane,” the film takes the audience with them. Any basic biopic reimagines the life of a person, but I have never such a great  amount of craftsmanship put into the story as Fincher did with “Mank.” Along with the brilliant cinematography, sound design, production design, costume design and acting, it couldn’t have been transferred more perfectly. The movie  doesn’t try to stick strictly to the story it’s trying to tell, but is more of an exploration of the 1940s that I’m sure classic film lovers would enjoy. Aside from those classic film lovers, this movie may have a hard time finding an audience. It is over two hours long, and I don’t see many staying invested in such a loose plot. Not much happens with the plot, and the storyline can be a bit hard to digest with due to the great number of transitions throughout the film, but it’s a wonderful movie and it reminds us all why we love movies! Oddly enough, the only issue I personally had was the lead character played by Gary Oldman. He is an unlikable and horrible choice for a protagonist to follow when commentating on the time period, and it doesn’t help when Oldman is giving a weak performance. In the gift giver that is 2020, we get yet another film that reminds us of the situation we’re going through. It makes me wonder if this was meant to be, because Fincher’s father, who passed away in 2003, wrote the script in the 1990s that includes shades of controversial politics and the Great Depression – all of which are happening in our current time. This shows how history continues to repeat itself.


#5. Fight Club

Image from 20th Century Studios

As we enter the tier of near-perfect films, I’ve never truly understood the greatness of this film until a recent rewatch. It’s not exactly the most interesting plot to fill such a large amount of time, but Fincher’s storytelling is groundbreaking. The amount of stylization put into this movie is high above many of his other more realistic films and the performances by the two leads, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, are fantastic! As it goes for many of Fincher’s films, seeing the film again helps the audience understand everything leading to the final twist. Fincher isn’t trying to spoon feed us answers, he’s a hard-headed artist.


#4. The Social Network

Image from Sony Pictures

If this movie doesn’t prove that Aaron Sorkin is one of the greatest screenwriters in Hollywood history, I don’t know what will. “The Social Network” exhibits amazing performances across the board, especially by Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, as well as a great narrative with one of the best scripts I have ever heard. It’s not the most entertaining movie, but the audience needs to look at how each person is portrayed, as well as how this film has affected their real lives. The execution of Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s story doesn’t have you rooting for any single person; it only wants to inform you about the Facebook that was before it became the Facebook that is.


#3. Zodiac

Image from Warner Bros. Pictures

If the king of thrillers wants to deliver a good serial killer story from the perspective of detectives, sign me up! I will go to great lengths to watch a murder mystery no matter the preconceived opinions. I love them because it feels like you’re along for the ride, and the movies always find a way to keep the audience invested in the storyline because they have the ability to try and piece the puzzle together with the characters along the way. The only reason I wouldn’t hold this up as high as Fincher’s best, “Seven,” is because this film feels like a remake of his best movie, with some of the material cut out. The difference here is that the Zodiac Killer is real. I love the investigation side of the story because we understand why, even with all of this information and evidence, the Zodiac Killer has never been identified. I don’t get scared by jump scares or supernatural slashers in horror movies, but the unknowing and emptiness of any simple person is what terrifies me.


#2. Gone Girl

Image from 20th Century Studios

If it wasn’t for Rosamund Pike, this movie wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the list. This film does a great service to its actors, including Ben Affleck with one of his best roles, but Pike’s role is one of my favorite movie villains of all time. I can’t think of a single thing they could’ve done better with her mind blowing character. The choice of having your big twist in the mystery unfold only about an hour within the viewing could’ve gone south. However, the actors pulled it off, and the realization of a misleading narrator and a journal that has been feeding all of the wrong information the entire time is breathtaking! 


#1. Seven

Image from New Line Cinema

No simpler premise could’ve been delivered in any more of a unique way than what was done with this film. In what technically is his first film, David Fincher gives us all the admirable qualities we’ve seen in his work throughout the years and solidifies his career in stone. Fincher takes the easiest characters to work with, the up-and-coming rookie cop along with the soon to be a retired detective, and brings the audience into the investigation with them. We see the dynamic between the two through masterful characterization. While Morgan Freeman gives a great performance, this was the movie that gave us the Brad Pitt who was so much more than the teen heartthrob of the early 90s. All of the twists and turns leading up to what may be the greatest ending to any film ever, “Seven” is an icon in the genre.