Steven Spielberg Influences David Fincher

When you think of the work of directing icons Steven Spielberg and David Fincher, there may not be a lot of similarities that come to mind immediately. Fincher is much more dark, gritty and grounded, while Spielberg is known best for his blockbuster fare and grand storytelling.

However, a short video essay has popped up online that points out three areas where Spielberg’s work has influenced the films of David Fincher. But to find out how Steven Spielberg influences David fincher, you’ll have to watch the video after the jump!

It’s a short and sweet video essay (by Michael Bryant), but it does have a lot of information. If you’re too busy to watch the video, the creator says that Fincher has taken influence from Spielberg when it comes to his presentation of faces, in the way his┬átracking shots reveal details and information, and the use of shadows.

With faces, Spielberg fans know that the director loves paying close attention to his actors’ faces, especially in close-ups. Spielberg also uses a lot of reaction shots when something unbelievable is happening off-screen. Fincher doesn’t use the technique as frequently as Spielberg, but when he does, it harkens back to Spielberg’s early work on films like Jaws, which Fincher has cited as a major influence.

As far as tracking shots are concerned, Fincher likes to move his camera around scenes much like Spielberg does. It moves in and out of set pieces and people, seeing everything in a certain setting. However, the essay points out that unlike Spielberg, Fincher usually doesn’t give the camera movement any personality, letting it act almost objectively in a scene instead of having motivation.

Finally, there’s the use of shadows. This seems to be the least proven of the three similarities on display, and in some ways, it feels like more of a coincidence than anything. If anything, both Spielberg and Fincher simply seem to have their use of shadows influenced by old mysteries and film noir.

Are there any other ways you think Steven Spielberg and David Fincher are alike?

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