6. A History of Violence (2005)
David Cronenberg (“Videodrome,” “Eastern Promises,” “Naked Lunch”) has a marvelous filmography. Aside from his magnificent existential thrillers, “A History of Violence” replaces Cronenberg’s fantastic narrative with a more realistic and harsh style.
It has a very exciting cast includes Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, and William Hurt. The life of Tom Stall, who runs a quiet restaurant in a quiet town, begins to change when he kills armed robbers who try to rob his restaurant. Tom, who has been declared a popular hero and became the focus of the media, then begins to discover his own identity. This process also enables him to discover the identity of his family.
This dark tale bears a strong resemblance with Fincher’s tight atmosphere in his films. With its sharp conflict moments, constant underlying suspense, and phenomenal finale, it fits perfectly for Fincher lovers.
7. Blood Simple (1984)
Here’s another Coen brothers film, and this one is their first feature. It’s a mesmerizing, dull, and calm thriller that fits perfectly on this list. The Coens’ detailed and realistic characters, tense moments, and very nervous chase scenes resemble “Seven” and “Zodiac.” “Blood Simple” is absolutely one of the best American indie films ever.
Marty, who runs a bar in Texas, suspects that his wife, Abby (Frances Mcdormand), has been cheating on her. He appoints Visser, a private investigator, to spy on her. When Abby really turns out to be sleeping with Ray, one of the bartenders, Marty gives Visser money to kill them. But in the Coen brothers’ universe, nothing is as simple as that…
The film provides a bewildered femme fatale, plenty of blood, and pure dark humor. Frances McDormand here is at the peak of her power. It offers plenty of surprises and an ingenious screenplay, and it is certainly great match with Fincher films.
8. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
“The Secret in Their Eyes” is a flawless Argentine drama by Juan José Campanella, based on the novel “La pregunta de sus ojos (The Question in Their Eyes)” by Eduardo Sacheri, who also co-wrote the screenplay.
Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darín), an interrogator for many years in one of the country’s most important courts, decides quit his job. In this process, he plans write a novel on a case that has affected him quite a lot in his office days. He begins to recall the details of a brutal rape and murder incident about 30 years ago, and decides to work again on this case and to solve this crime.
The first step for him to review the documents and findings is to return to where he was working. For Esposito, this process becomes a journey where the bitter truths of the concept of justice and conscience come to the surface.
Even though it has no similarities with “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in terms of content, it has a magnificent impact as Fincher’s splendid drama with its powerful dramatic structure and very strong finale.
9. Chinatown (1974)
Fincher is not just the one of the biggest fans of this neo-noir masterpiece. In the Blu-ray edition of 2012, Fincher, talks with the film’s screenwriter Robert Towne and we understand that he exactly knows every single piece of “Chinatown.”
A multilayered and rich story by Roman Polanski (“Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Pianist”), “Chinatown” offers a dark universe, weird disturbing ambiguity, and a calm but tense Fincher-like atmosphere.
Former police officer Jake Gittes works as a private detective. He is hired by Evelyn to follow Hollis I. Mulwray, chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, as she thinks her husband is having an affair. Jake really starts to follow, but events don’t develop as expected, and he finds himself wrapped in a dark mystery.
Polanski creates a femme fatale figure without sharp lines, which is not familiar to the genre in those days. And thanks to this brave touch, “Chinatown” becomes very complex and special. It certainly brings evident dynamism and depth to the genre, just like Fincher did. This flawless film is absolutely one of the best film noirs ever. Jack Nicholson plays the role of Gittes, an unforgettable character in cinema history thanks to his brilliant performance.
“Chinatown” has a very clever screenplay in which Polanski’s conspiracies become more apparent. It also won the Best Original Screenplay award at the Oscars. In this great film that is full of surprises, Polanski’s appearance in a small role in the film is another tempting detail.
10. Insomnia (2002)
Christopher Nolan is one of the most admired directors in the world. His lesser-known film “Insomnia” is a great match for this list. This fabulous psychological thriller stars Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank. It is the remake of the Norwegian film of 1997 with the same name.
With its perfectly edited chase scenes, unbalanced characters, mystery, and conflicts in calmness, it salutes Fincher’s “Seven” and even “Fight Club.”
Detectives Dormer (Pacino) and Eckhart (Martin Donovan) are sent to an Alaskan town to solve the murder of a young girl. Dormer, who finds himself in a series of unfortunate events, struggles to solve the mystery with the support of the town police. Whether it’s because of a psychological collapse or the effects of the sun that doesn’t set, he suffers annoying insomnia.
With the mystery waiting to be solved and the inclusion of Walter Finch (Robin Williams), the film gets dark and darker.
“Insomnia” offers very valuable scenes by bringing together Pacino and Williams, though it’s not one of the best films from Nolan.