Zodiac

David Fincher films tend to stand out as extreme affairs; even when muted procedurals about obsession like Zodiac retain that sense of claustrophobic intensity that few other filmmakers can replicate. A previous video showed how Fincher was able to create that atmosphere through his use of close-ups, focusing the audience’s attention as well as drawing them closer to the worlds he creates. Now that editor has returned to look at the other side of Fincher, and how the filmmaker uses the wide shot to give the audience a chance to step back from the mayhem unfolding.

Jacob T. Swinney’s newest video, “David Fincher: From A Distance,” examines the celebrated auteur’s use of wide shots throughout his filmography. Clips from Alien 3, Fight Club, The Social Network, Gone Girl and everything in between establish an artist with a command over the eyes and pulses of his viewers. While the close-ups suck people into the characters’ situations and plots, the wide shots establish the worlds the characters inhabit, usually showing them at the center of the frame, instead of its edges. The world in which these flawed and frayed people must exist revolves around them, and is even bigger than the audience suspects.

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As Swinney himself puts it:

My last David Fincher video examined the filmmaker’s use of the extreme close-up. It seemed only right that my follow-up video would do the opposite. Fincher’s use of the long/extreme long shot is something of beauty, lending a majestic sense of scale to his often cramped and grimy little worlds. Whether he employs the shot to communicate isolation, express magnitude, or even just to give us a much needed breath, Fincher’s approach to distancing us from his subjects is masterful.

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David Fincher: From a Distance from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.