The BIG Question - Is Seven David Fincher's Best Film?

Credit for starting the thought process on this question must really go to Cut The Crap Movie Reviews who started this debate with their review of the film in February.


Not only is Seven Fincher's best work, it's also his most forgotten-about and most timeless. 'Timeless?', I hear you say, 'isn't timeless reserved for films like Gone With The Wind or... erm... Paint Your Wagon or something?' Well no actually. It's not. So there.

Timelessness is easily defined as something which is 'restricted to no particular time' which is the innate beauty of Seven; stick it in to the counter-culture of the early nineties: it works, the punk-rock rebellion of the eighties: it works, the sixties sexual revolution: it works. In any of these times the drive in Seven's story - an overtly religious but none-the-less psychotic man sees the world moving away from religion on a daily basis - works, it just so happens to be grounded within the apathy of the mid-nineties.

Add in literate references to Shakespeare and the Marquis De Sade, three lead characters moving very quickly towards being iconic, THAT end which Pitt had written in to his contract couldn't be changed, the fact that it's a wholly original script and a location that could be anywhere and you've got a bona fide classic thriller which probably hasn't been beaten since. Categorically Fincher's best.


I'll keep this simple: Seven is not Fincher's best work because he doesn't have a best work. He has several: the man just doesn't do bad films. Look at a great director, lets take Spielberg for example, sure on his resume he might have Indiana Jones and E.T but he's also got The Terminal and Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Fincher's worst is probably Alien 3 and even that has some interesting moments.

His filmography reads like a how-to of solid thrillers featuring dark material; The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac and then at the end the gloriously expansive and achingly beautiful The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Fine we can probably ignore Panic Room but try picking a best film out of the remaining entries: more difficult than solving a Rubik cube with your hands behind your back having been thrown in The Hole.

Picking a director's 'best' or making a 'best of' list are sociological constructs that we perform to give order to the world, but with filmmakers like Fincher, it just isn't possible to pigeon-hole his output into a neatly catalogued order: they're all just as good as each other.

Besides... I like Fight Club better than Seven.


  1. Gah, this is a tough one. I'd definitely go, as of right now, with Fight Club over Se7en, but the guy's just got talent (if for picking out awesome films more than anything else).

    But I do really love Zodiac, and if it was maybe 20 minutes shorter, it'd probably breach my top 100 for contention.

    Granted, right now, I'm very wary about Social Network. I hope this isn't his first real misstep (Alien3 is nullified because it was a studio film to get him into the business).

  2. There is no question. Se7en is Fincher's best because I said so. Consider yourselves facted.

    Also, that red text on dark grey background is giving my migraines a migraine!

    Good site though, glad to have found you.

  3. Univarn - And therein lies the problem: three great films all vying for top spot and that's without having even considered Benjamin Button!

    Suit - I consider myself told, Sir! And I can see what you mean about the red text too actually, may attempt to change that to the orangeyness of the links across the top in due course.

    Aiden - Short and to the point... I like it!

  4. Fight Club, maybe Zodiac, which could've been a formulamic serial killers drama, but instead was a fascinating, thrilling, scary, paranoid, and charsimatic masterpiece. So.

  5. So... is that a no then Simon?! You've hit the nail on the head again really - as soon as you start to say why you really like one of his films, you have to consider one of the other ones!

  6. It's so weird but I only vaguely remember this movie, I know Fight Club (easily) trumps it though, it is in my top 100. But the thing is, when it comes to it I'd probably pick Benjamin Button because it's so precise and yet so expansive and I can put it in at ANY part and be thrilled.

  7. Seven is NOT his best movie.

    Fight Club is more experimental and daring - don't get me wrong, Seven is increidble well-made, but that moody, grimy thriller has been seen before. Fight Club's style I have never seen- the entire look of the film is so unique.

    Again, Zodiac is, like Seven, an incredbly well-made film - but it is not unique. Benjamin Button shows that Fincher can go wrong very easily.

    Fight Club is his best work - and that is due to the entire style and look of the film. Not much came before Fight Club while ALOT came before Seven.


  8. Andrew - good to see some love for Benjamin Button, I think it's a great film but it is strange how often when this discussion starts up it gets a bit left behind. Perhaps its just not been around long enough yet?

    Simon - Top marks for not sitting on the fence! Fight Club's aesthetic, you're right, is very individual but I think it's a style individual to Fincher rather than one particular film (with the possible exception of Button). I was worried going in to Button and like Uni says, I am worried about Social Network but for me, he nailed it, a really great involving drama, although you don't have to go far to find a critic or two who's view meets your own (notably Kermode).

  9. No. I think Fight Club is much better. But I disagree that he doesn't do bad films. Alien³ is so clumsily transparent in its allegory that it's embarrassing.

  10. Thanks for dropping by with your comment Scot and yes, I think it's very easy to criticise Alien 3 although I still found it relatively entertaining and as Uni says, there is the fact that he was placed in the director's chair, rather than it being what would now be called a 'Fincher Film' but you're right, it's not great.