David Fincher is the king of cool. Not only does he have immense and well deserved auteur status among cinephiles, but he is also the poster boy of cool movies. Much of this recognition, of course, comes from none other than his enduring cult classic, “Fight Club” (which, this author would argue, is deeply misunderstood by many of the college bros who still plaster their dorms with its posters). Though, to do a bit of linguistic gymnastics, Fincher should also be touted as the king of the aesthetic cool. Not only do his films have a slick, otherworldly sheen, but there is a distanced grace to their perfection, as though absolute, exacting control of the mise en scene is the only real way to depict chaos. None of which you would think would translate to the world of pop music videos.
Yet, before he made his disastrous but incredibly confident and idiosyncratic break into features with “Alien 3,” Fincher was something of a pop music video wunderkind, and taking a look back at these music videos there is nothing but the recognizable filmmaker we know today, showing off his penchant for choreography and steadily refining his meticulous, deliberate style. To help us crack open the nut that is Fincher’s music video oeuvre, Patrick (H) Willems has put together “David Fincher & And The Craft Of Music Videos,” an intricate look at the compulsive control that the director utilized and how his precision and intentionality helped him make some of the most coherent and delightful pop music videos of all time.
Fincher fan or not, the 8-minute short film is a detailed look into what exactly makes a good pop music video, from how they are different to the more “artsy” videos many other now-famous directors produced, to how Fincher utilized every trick in his wheelhouse to make sure his videos were in harmony with the song itself.
Check out the video essay and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.