Why Is It Always Raining in David Fincher Movies?

'Se7en'Credit: New Line Cinema
Everything is planned in a David Fincher movie. Even the weather. 

It's sort of mundane now to be the person who writes the umpteenth article on how many takes David Fincher does on his projects.

That's who he is, everyone knows it. I've written that article a few times, and it feels like we always land on the same thing: Fincher is a perfectionist who has a certain way he envisions things and he knows when he likes a scene.

What I'm more interested in are the details Fincher is meticulous about, like the weather. 

Check out this video from In Depth Cine, and let's talk after the jump. 

Why Is It Always Raining in David Fincher Movies? 

I think we can all agree that movies are just a heightened version of reality. We get the director's vision of what the world will look like in these stories. That's worldbuilding, and in conjunction with the writer, they work to get the audience to buy into that reality. 

Fincher always seems to have a heightened reality, one that appears to be our reality but has a few different things going on. There's the slow camera movements, the genre elements, and of course the mood and tone

One of the ways Fincher manipulates all of this stuff is by use of the weather. Yes,  Fincher can control the weather... in his movies.

Take a movie like Se7en. It rains for the entire film until the end, when the sun comes out. That would normally be reserved for a transition into a happy ending, but instead, the Se7en ending is just as bleak as the weather. This suggests that even when the sun is out, it's raining, metaphorically, somewhere. 

Of course in a movie like this, Fincher uses exaggerated weather to amplify emotion. He wants the audience to steep in the unforgiving nature of the city and the doldrums of life, in the filth and seedier side of life. He even adds rain when it's not raining in the screenplay. 

In the video, we hear the analysis that just as a cinematographer uses light, or a costume designer uses the costumes, Fincher uses the weather to get his point across. The audience gets a visceral feeling for the theme of the movie. 

It's not just Se7en. Fincher uses weather in The Social Network, Zodiac, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and even Panic Room to help push the audience where he wants them to go.

While we often call Steven Spielberg the master of audience manipulation, I think Fincher is vying for his place in the conversation as well. He uses snow and rain and wind in Dragon Tattoo to show how insular the island can be. In The Social Network, he can use rain to form a mood around the act of computer coding, and show the solitude Zuckerberg feels. 

What's your takeaway on all this? Have you noticed this practice in his films? Utilized something similar in your own? Let us know in the comments.      

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