Originally Posted by The Postmaster General
I feel the same way about Fincher in general. He's a competent director, but I seldom feel like he brings anything to the table. His soundtracks, for instance, are always very cool (perhaps a little inside help from having a music industry past) but don't ever add much to the film, aside from just having good music - most of the songs used in The Social Network could have been interchangible with any semi-underground to mainstream hit of the early-to-mid 2000s. With the exception of the Beatles track at the end, there was little there.
His actors are always very charismatic, and could carry the films on their own - often, it's just them showing up being who they always are. I've never felt that any of them were directed to give a performance beyond anything I've seen before.
My take is that most of Fincher's films success derives from the source material he uses. He always manages to get really great stories, but even there, I feel he doesn't connect with them beyond just having the sense to know they are good stories (much like music choices)
Basically, my feeling is that films directed by Fincher are good examples of times when the director is not the auteur. This point is only clear to me from the seemingly accepted idea (no doubt a post-fallout from the Tarantino "director is the god" mentality that went full fledged pop in the mid-90s) that Fincher makes the movies great, because, you know, he directed it, and the director is responsible for everything that makes the movie great.
I have these same thoughts when I see Seven. I think it's his most overrated movie. It has atmosphere, but both Freeman and Pitt play boring predictable characters and their characters never really help the story movie along. They show up murder scenes and blah blah blah. It's kind of repetitive and redundant. It's just the wise old detective/hot shot young cop act.
One film that I think people are too hard on is Alien 3. The director's cut is a pretty good film and Fincher does a solid job despite all the problems they had in production.