It’s David Vs…David in the battle between these two heavyweight directors: Cronenberg and Fincher. Gurnesha Bola reviews.

Written by Gurnesha Bola
Film section co-editor. English Literature + History student. I write things down from time to time...
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With the onset of autumn, two directing heavyweights release some of the most anticipated movies of the year. Cronenberg’s cutting exposé of the nightmares and horrors behind Hollywood’s shining veneer and Fincher’s brooding big screen adaptation of a best-selling thriller. So let us therefore take a moment to reflect upon the best film contributions made by David…and David…

Cronenberg

 

The Ultimate Cronenberg…
Eastern Promises:

Viggo Mortensen covered in tattoos as a crime boss in new movie with Naomi Watts One of cinemas most underrated power couples has to be Cronenberg-Mortensen, who have never been more triumphant than in their 2007 offering Eastern Promises. Violent yet sensitive, sinister and slick – the gangster drama has never been more appealing. It is a film rooted in the old-school etiquette of mob politics, family allegiances and the legacy of honour. Cronenberg demonstrates his unrivalled skill in confronting all the tropes of the seedy underworld without any of the clichés. The drama rests on the unshakeable shoulders of Viggo Mortensen who gives an incredible Oscar-nominated performance as a nuanced mafia insider. He commands the screen throughout its 100 minutes whether he’s casually dismembering a corpse and having a smoke or engaged in fully nude combat. To round it all off Steven Knight (now a household name in British screenwriting) brings an element of grim poetry to Cronenberg’s winding tale that absorbs from start to finish.

The Ultimate Fincher…
Fight Club:

Fight Club Tyler I may be instigating uproar in having chosen neither of Fincher’s Oscar-nominated movies, but have directly targeted his modern classic, Fight Club. Despite breaking the cardinal (and highly quotable) rule in doing so, Fincher’s masterful adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s anti-consumerism, anti-establishment but startlingly romantic novel has achieved cult status. Edward Norton’s oppressed and disillusioned narrator positively collides with the unfaltering charismatic time-bomb that is Brad Pitt’s, Tyler Durden. Supported by a charmingly twisted Helena Bonham Carter (not forgetting Jared Leto’s cameo as a platinum blonde, perfectly bone structured anarchist) the cast in itself is enough to commend this film. Yet, Fincher manages to take it further creating something aesthetically hallucinatory but remains both satirical and relentless through every moment of disbelief. However, if this all fails to sway, let us at least acknowledge the moment Brad Pitt ensured that every male would feel a crippling sense of inadequacy upon removing their shirts ever again…

The one to watch if you like the sound of Maps to the Stars…
Cosmopolis:

Cosmospolis Bringing Don DeLillo’s scathing critique of capitalist America to the big screen was no mean feat considering how the story truly unravels in the back of a limousine and is driven by the actions and observations of one corrupted and indulgent individual. Cronenberg however, takes this in his stride and confidently holds a magnifying glass to this micro-scale model of all that is wrong with Wall Street-centric society. Pattinson’s first collaboration with the director proved a success and he solidly presented himself as an actor who had moved beyond his Twilight days. Although not universally heralded, none can deny that the film oozes style and excess making every violent and creeping twist even more sinister.

The one to watch if you like the sound of Gone Girl…
Se7en:

Se7en

Let us travel back to the heyday of the Pitt-Fincher dream team with the psychological thriller, Se7en. Intelligent, intense, insidious and dark – one of Hollywood’s most unlikely onscreen pairings gives a masterclass in the detective mystery. Pitt’s ambitious newbie and Freeman’s seasoned pro hunt down a sanctimonious serial-killer picking off the sinners in ever-increasingly disturbed ways. An impressive balance of violence and suspense but with all the brains to keep an audience guessing has ensured the legacy of this film endures nearly 20 years on. With no weak link to be found in its performances, writing or cinematography this is well and truly a cinematic experience worth checking out.

Up next… Cronenberg

It mostly seems quiet on the Cronenberg feature-length front as of yet but he has not been idle since wrapping Maps to the Stars. In fact, he recently uploaded a truly Cronenbergian short film centring on a woman’s consultation with her surgeon regarding the removal of her left breast which she believes is infested by a wasp’s nest; not to mention the fact that it appears to be shot in the basement of a modern day deranged Dr. Frankenstein. Unsettling and decisively NSFW.The Nest

Up next…Fincher 

Not one to rest on his laurels, Fincher is now focusing his efforts upon a HBO remake of British fan-favourite series, Utopia. Anyone familiar with the cinematographically beautiful and emotionally disturbing series will probably be beyond themselves with excitement when considering Fincher taking the lead. As it stands he is apparently committing to direct the entire first series which will reunite him with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn who is signed on as screenwriter.

Utopia

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