Over on Vimeo and YouTube, a film educator named Tony Zhou has been creating a short web series called Every Frame a Painting, where in every episode he breaks down the visual approach of a popular director to examine what elevates that director's work. Last week, in anticipation of David Fincher's new film Gone Girl (which I'd strongly recommend), Zhou released a new video breaking down Fincher's style, from his breakout film Se7en up through his work on House of Cards and Gone Girl, with a particular interest on Fincher's use of blocking and framing. This video, particularly the bit about featuring the police station scenes from Se7en, emphasized to me just how important framing can be in creating power dynamics between characters in a scene. As evidenced by the video, great directors can bring a cinematic style to something as simple as two characters spouting exposition, which can elevate a film from good to great. The restrictions that Fincher puts on his own shot choices, which all seem to have evolved from his deep understanding of the grammer of film, allow him to tell a story in the best possible way. Another article I read this week about Fincher and Gone Girl noted that Fincher's specialty is in adapting narrative material (the origins of Facebook, a pulpy detective story, etc.) and introducing a cinematic element to these stories that heightens the drama and deepens the audience's understanding of the characters.
David Fincher - And the Other Way is Wrong from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.