Extreme Closeups in the Films of David Fincher

David Fincher Extreme Close-Ups

Jacob T. Swinney is back again with another fantastic compilation, this time an exploration of David Fincher's use of the closeup in his movies. Here is Jacob on the video:

The extreme close-up may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of David Fincher's unique visual aesthetic. That's because Fincher's extreme close-ups don't call attention to themselves. The filmmaker stitches the shots into his pictures in a way that is subtle and fluid, yet impactful and abrasive. They often go unnoticed, sitting just under the surface and scratching at our eyes. In my previous two "Extreme Close-Up" videos, I looked at Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson, two masters of the ECU. If Tarantino and PTA use the ECU as explanation points, Fincher's are used as hyphens, semicolons, and parentheses.

Fincher's style oozes from every single one of these shots — dark, gritty, and coming from a world that's been lived in. The closeups have always stood out to me in Fincher's work, especially those from films like Se7en. All of these shots add an additional layer — another bit of texture we can almost reach out and touch.

For more of Jacob's terrific work, check out his page.     

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Your Comment


Great work! Love beautiful, well-lit, ECU's like these.
Does a list of the movies these were taken from exist somewhere?
Or, would the answer to that be every one of Fincher's films?

January 26, 2016 at 7:51AM, Edited January 26, 7:51AM

Richard Krall

Yep, the answer is all of them which is why I didn't include the list. Though Jacob has written it in the Vimeo description.

January 26, 2016 at 8:53AM

Joe Marine
Camera Department

That last frame... lol

Great edit.

January 26, 2016 at 10:50AM


loved the reference to fight club in the last frame...

January 28, 2016 at 12:52PM

Ariel Collazo
Director/ Writer/ Editor

I would be interested on how to replicate shots like this. What I specifically would like to know is what lens lengths were used to achieve this. I'm assuming 100m and up. A few of them looked like they could have been an 80mm. A good portion of them have a shallow DOF. Some are flatter. I'm better at guessing F-stops than lens sizes. Anyone have insight into this?

January 28, 2016 at 3:44PM

Tony Clifford

Probably some 50mm or so, with a 1.1 fstop

February 4, 2016 at 11:44AM

doman nelson
Director, Editor