> Fincher has leaned toward a “very classical” visual rule book whose fundamentals predate French New Wave and vérité.
Filmmakers such as Agnes Varda or Truffaut wouldn't care about a camera bumping or a light being off. Varda made The Gleaners and I on a digital camera in the early 2000's and I'd put it up against any Fincher.
I don't mean to dismiss Fincher. But there's definitely this image of a director being this picky person yelling "cut cut" over the smallest issue.
If you went up to Herzog about a continuity error, he’d probably tell you to get a life.
As an anecdote i've recently seen Extraction with Chris Hemsworth, great movie but in the middle of the first big action scene, the camera goes through the windscreen of the back of the car without the glass being shattered. It was enough to pull me out of the action into a moment of disbelief.
Breaking continuity has a cost
I appreciate this so much. There’s a lot of shaky cam out there and it often gives me motion sickness or confuses my understanding of the scene. It also feels like a cheap trick directors use to create faux excitement, or to cover up sloppy filmmaking.
Fincher movies are easy to watch and understand visually. He does a lot of wide shots and long shots without sloppy cuts. In Panic Room he did a single shot (although CGI) that lasted several minutes and showed the viewer around the entire set in a single uninterrupted view. It was glorious.
I wish this approach was more common. Although I expect it’s not because it’s hard to accomplish.
Here are two of the worst abuses of fast cut, shaky cam scenes out there:
In contrast, "asian" cinema either stars actors who can do a large chunks of their own action scenes, or spend time training them.
On top of that, "western" cinema doesn't even know about how our eyes and brains perceive the world. Every Frame a Painting has a very good video essay on how Jackie Chan films action scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1PCtIaM_GQ Note how punches are filmed.
1) Doing your own stunts steals work from the stunt team, who are payed per stunt. It's greedy and narcissistic because...
2) An injured star can shut down (temporarily or even permanently) a whole production.
3) The vast majority of films made in the 'West' are not action films, and the vast majority of action films are not martial arts films.
4) There is no single 'western' cinema. Hollywood has numerous directors, some workmen, some auteurs, and European cinema has enormous diversity.
5) There are indeed terrible directors and DOPs who use confusion to paste over the gaps in their own capacity to convey action. They're not anything like a majority, and are outnumbered by more classical directors like Spielberg, Fincher and Nolan, who have an excellent grap of visual space, pacing and blocking.
6) Every frame a painting is fantastic. Perhaps you should watch more than one episode?
It should be no shock that cinema makers, by and large, double down on what cinema buyers are into buying. There is a clear feedback loop there and it has led to some results.
That you could get to different spots with different audiences is not really a surprise. Nor is it a requirement that one audience is wrong.
My hypothesis on the shaky cam is that makes it harder to try and take in details that are not essential. In large, you can't take in any details and can only remember it after the fact. You have to, in a very real sense, fill in the details on your own. With a bias knowing how things actually ended. Is why the shaky cam footage usually is brief and gets to a conclusion faster than drawn out fights. This probably limits the enjoyment from going back on something, but realistically most folks don't repeat view things anyway.
Making things more deliberate in fights wouldn't make things better or worse. In fact, I have grown tired of them in well choreographed fights, even. Real fights are quicker. With advantages compounding rapidly. Did you get the first good hit in? You are probably winning. Are you the bigger opponent? Probably winning. Mysticism is fun to watch, no doubt. But especially when movies try and claim their is no mysticism involved, it just gets tiring to me.
Now, are there still other ways? Absolutely. For myself, I have actually grown to dislike most movies and other visual mediums for the reason cited above and, in large, because books work better for me. Do I think this means that folks are better adapted to books? I mean, maybe. Probably not, though. Likely it is just my perspective on how this stuff best flows.
(And as a closing shot, I'm remembering that I love watching ballet. A well choreographed and executed dance is amazing to watch. Without me having to suspend any disbelief on whether someone could actually win a fight. :D)
It's harsh, dirty, somewhat chaotic, and unapologetically brutal in a way that matches, poetically, the setting.
I think it also helps that, despite it being released a few years beforehand, I get a strong Quake (2) vibe from the colour palette and setting of Alien 3, and that serves to further endear it to me.
I even agree with everything said above. It is nicely dark and gritty. Matches the setting really really well, all told. It gained nothing from being a continuation of the previous one, though. And killed a lot of emotional enjoyment you could have by rewatching the previous one.
>I had to work on it for two years, got fired off it three times and I had to fight for every single thing. No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me.
Ah, spoken like a true perfectionist :)