David Fincher as an Auteur #2

My second post discussing David Fincher as an auteur will focus on his depressing and negative endings which often show failure, sacrifice or suicide. It is a common thing for Fincher to involve himself with a film that is actually gritty, grim and dark such as Se7en, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and even The Game; however the endings and climax are always very important.

Fincher’s first directing role in Alien 3 shows this, it’s a cruel horrible world inside this prison where you are only waiting for your imminent death which is slow and tiring. An alien creature invades along with a lost and injured Ripley, a female isolated in this male dominated society and world which sets up a very harsh storyline. However at the end of the film there is no victory or success for either the prisoners or Ripley who we follow throughout, following a spray of guns the prisoners are shot and Ripley commits sacrificial suicide as she jumps into a pit of burning flames. As an audience we have nothing to be happy about, our main characters are all dead and with no victory showing how rubbish and cruel the situation was.

The same feeling is portrayed in the ending of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; throughout the film we follow the subplot which shows the growing relationship between our two main characters Mikael and Lisbeth. Lisbeth is someone who we feel very attached too and sympathetic towards, however at the end of the film dressed up and ready to meet Mikael she witnesses him leave with another woman leaving her distressed and upset. It is heart-breaking to watch, again there is no positive ending for the film or our character showing just how cruel this world is and society is.

Se7en and Fight Club two of Fincher’s big classics and all-time greats also follow this same outlook and perspective, mainly focusing on suicide. At the end of Se7en our main character witnesses his wife’s head decapitated in box and then gets himself arrested for shooting her murderer which is the serial killer being chased throughout the film. We can only assume that Mills is going to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell, alone and hopeless yet he knew this would be the chosen path when he pulled the trigger on John Doe therefore technically committing suicide as he kills of his future. Fight Club has the similar ending after an emotional and somewhat crazy journey our main character stands with a gun in his mouth ready to end it all, the same situation in The Game. Fincher creates this very depressing feeling of injustice, giving the message that the good guys don’t win in society. Se7en even ends with Somerset’s lines “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.” This sums up the films and in a way Fincher’s message.

It is fair to say that Fincher has a negative look on society and life in general especially in his first set of directing roles. It seems that if you want Fincher behind your film, you better make sure there are no happy endings and it isn’t a romantic comedy.  Negative films and depressing endings are definitely and unarguably a trademark of David Fincher, if you didn’t see my last post on his representation of women click here.

ALIEN PORTRAYAL IN FILMS

I am at the end of my planning and development stage for my screenplay and have decided  it shall include horrors enforced by “alien” beings rather than any other powerful dark forces. I wanted to look at how Film as a whole have portrayed Aliens in the past, not just for inspiration but as a learning curve.

A Trip to the Moon (1902) Poster

A Trip to the Moon (1902) is reportedly the first film to ever show extra-terrestrials on the big screen, and it remained that way for a long time as only 3 films were ever released before the 1950’s that explored Aliens! However it was during the 1950’s which the trend and popular antagonist was truly introduced into Film. Since then however it has been a craze with at least one Alien horror or adventure being released each year.

In terms of memorable Alien antics there are of course a few that spring to mind! E.T will most likely be the name on most peoples lips and mind, as Spielberg created a timeless classic. Alien of course is another, which then went on to be a big-time franchise since then many have had their own shot at portraying the Alien from the likes of comedy Paul to most recently Dark Skies!

However for my own film I want to take the same approach as M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs (2002) which in my opinion created one of the most daunting, terrifying alien creatures in film history. Not only is the story chilling but the alien within really is spine-tingling and till this day it will also instigate a bit of shock. The look, the features, the physique its all very clever and brilliant.

I want to know what your favourite Alien film is, it don’t have to be as daunting as Signs or likewise as friendly as E.T! It would also be great though if you could comment what your opinion is when it comes to the most terrifying Alien portrayals!

Signs (2002)

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

 Director: M. Night Shyamalan

 Writer: M. Night Shyamalan

 Staring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin

 Rating: ★★★★

 Signs isn’t just a Sci fi film about aliens and crop circles, it’s a film about fate and how life gives you signs of what’s meant to be. Although inspirational to some extent it’s horrifying, M. Night Shyamalan’s has written and directed a fantastic film, the use of sound or the lack of it, in silence creates a fear of the unknown and a fear of the unheard. It’s an amazing film with an amazing crew as well as cast that will make you leave a few half empty glasses of water around your house.

 

The film follows the “Hess” family who owns a farm in the small town of Bucks County in Pennsylvania. Former Reverend Graham (Mel Gibson) has just recently lost his wife, with his faith being tested he then discovers crop circles up to 500ft big in his field, later finding out he’s one of many to suffer world-wide. He lives with his two kids Morgan, who suffers badly from asthma and Bo, a little girl who is more than a little picky when it comes to water and finally his brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix) a former mini league baseball player known for his big swing. After animals start behaving strange, crop circles getting more than enough publicity world wide and some dodgy baby monitor reception they are all in too deep and are about to encounter the unknown and be tested as a family.

As I said before Signs isn’t just about crop circles, its about fate and signs that aren’t always visible in life giving an inspirational twist on a Sci fi horror making it stand out to the rest. It’s also a heart warming story about how a family sticks together and fights its way through hard times. M. Night Shyamalan has written a film that will make you shiver and give you chills not only due to horror but due to the relationships between the characters. The key element that sticks out is the sound, the use of silence makes you fear the unknown and creates a feeling of loneliness and helplessness, for me it was the best thing about this film alongside the cinematography and the suspense created by keeping the antagonist off screen until the climax.

M. Night Shyamalan was at his best when creating this film in my opinion, it deserves all the credit it can get. It’s one of my favourite films that discuss the topic of extraterrestrials due to its different approach and use of tin foil hats. It’s one to watch on a dark lonely night for sure, but don’t expect to get much sleep after.