So. Remember when I said I was on a David Fincher kick? This is a result of that. This isn’t so much a review as much as it is heaps of praise for David Fincher and his go-to composers, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
“Wait, but… review!” Ok, fine. Zodiac was probably my favorite out of the three; The Social Network holds up; and honestly- I enjoyed Mank a whole lot. I like some of it better than Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. It had more of a purpose and less self-indulgence and I can tell Fincher had a lot of fun blending old techniques with new technology. Back to Fincher. In a Quaran-time, when I have lots of garbage to sift through and my phone right next to me, it’s easy to half-watch movies. I can safely say that Fincher’s work consistently engages my attention and I don’t just sit there and observe what’s going on- I watch. You can see my review of Se7en for my thoughts on Fincher’s style. I think he’s one of the best directors of all time out there. I should probably roll around to Mindhunter at some point.
I’m also psyched for his four-year Netflix-exclusive deal. Like, way to stick it to the man and disrupt the industry. And good call ahead of this whole Warner Media/AMC battle! At the end of the day, he’s a filmmaker; to see him lending his name and consider himself a member of the same table as Shonda Rimes, recent film school graduates, and all those writers that have trouble getting their material in front of executives- it’s just pretty cool to see.
Anyway, enough about that guy and onto the music! Nine Inch Nails is one of my favorite bands of all time. I might listen to a full album from an artist but not stick around with them; but NIN is one of those handful of bands I follow on a regular basis and go out of my way to listen to. When Reznor made the jump to composing for film, starting with The Social Network and taking producer Atticus Ross along for the ride, it just made complete sense to me. I’ve always found to be Reznor’s work to be very tone-based- he’s able to evoke thoughts and feelings with just a few notes; and alongside that, his music has always been very visual. I can listen to one of his songs and get an immediate sense of a color palette or emotion, and imagine some sort of story or scenario that would accompany it. Words aren’t needed to build worlds or form narratives around his work.
Off-topic, but NIN- Reznor– just way ahead of its time. There are so many bands and films today that draw inspiration from Broken, The Downward Spiral, and The Fragile; the majority of the NIN catalogue has aged like a fine wine and sounds fresh. It sounds so dumb when I write it but can’t be described in any other way- Reznor has a great set of ears. Bear with me. He can listen to an obscure sound, give it a form and function, and at the end of the day, he’ll have gifted you a song. Camera shutters, glass breaking, crowds chanting- they’ve all made their way into NIN’s catalogue and it’s just made complete sense. Despite all the noise and chaos that might strike a listener on their first time hearing NIN, there’s an incredible amount of thought that goes into his composition. Hop on the NIN bandwagon now while you can- it’s better to be a late NIN fan than to not be a NIN fan at all.
Fincher is clearly a fan too- he used Closer back in Se7en. Honestly, I think Reznor and Ross are probably the best collaborators today; and when Fincher gets involved, it’s just a straight-up fiesta of experimentation. Since hiring them for The Social Network (which visits a lot of The Fragile, btw), he’s kind of just let Ross and Reznor go off and do their thing, writing these 7-minute songs, which he then doesn’t cut up- he instead will edit his films around it. Imagine my fucking delight when Mank was a bunch of short 30’s and 40’s-style ditties- some pieces only last a few seconds to provide some flourish- with time period-appropriate instruments with no Moogs or electronics in sight. After all these years, Reznor is still tinkering around, open to ideas, experimenting, and just jamming. And I’m still a fan.