And lastly, he never moves the camera if he can help it.
-I wanted to present, in as wide a frame, and in as unloaded a situation as possible, as much of a kinda simple proscenium way, this is what’s going on, this is what this guy sees.
-You don't pay attention.
-What is this?
So consider all these restrictions he gives himself.
No handheld, no human operating, no unnecessary close-ups, no unmotivated camera moves.
Now let’s give him a scene of just people talking.
Can he make it cinematic?
-Killer put a bucket beneath him, kept on serving.
-Coroner said this could have gone on for more than 12 hours.
Talking isn’t cinematic but drama is.
This scene is about three people, one standing, two sitting.
The first thing Fincher does is bring us over here to listen to these two.
Just from shot sizes we can tell this is more important to Somerset than to the chief, but neither will budge.
When the detective tries to drop the case...
-I’d like to be reassigned.
We shift to a different angle of the chief and of Somerset.
This is our clue that Mills is trying to work his way in.
But Somerset, who’s looking nowhere near the eyeline, ignores him.
When the younger detective cuts in:
-Hey man, you know, I'm right here, you can say that shit to my face.
We go back to this angle, with Somerset finally facing him.
This puts the chief in a tough spot, and he has to put his foot down.
-Give it to me.
-No I’m putting you on something else.
This is the only close-up of the chief in this scene and Fincher saves it for the moment Mills gets totally dismissed.
So even without sound, you understand the purpose of this scene.
Fincher has taken your eyes and brought them here to see this drama, here to see this one, and then here for the final shutdown.
Three characters, three relationships, all staged for the camera to see.
-I'm sorry, old buddy.
The next time these characters are together, look how far away Mills is sitting.
But once Somerset starts to explain his theory:
Fincher brings us over here to show them looking at each other in the same frame.
Even though they don’t work together for another 10 minutes, it’s here that they begin to respect each other.
You can actually watch Se7en and see the progression of this relationship in any shot that has the two of them together, ending with this one.
THAT is good directing.
And as Fincher has gotten older, he’s actually gotten more subtle.
For instance, now he’s really good at using emptiness in the frame.
So he’ll cut to a chair with no one in it.
-Eduardo was the president of the Harvard Investors Association and he was also my best friend.
Or an empty space for an absent husband.
-That's too bad, we're gonna talk about this.
-And when is it gonna be finished?
He’ll build an entire scene to a moment when someone looks into the lens, happy.
-I'm very glad to be here, thank you for having me.
-Take care of yourself, Sam.
And he'll show us the inside of someone's fridge.
It's true that Fincher has a reputation for being uncompromising, shooting 50 or 60 or 99 takes of a scene.
-Oh my God, what does it mean?
At the same time, it’s great to watch someone who’s actually good at their job.
Someone who can show the power relationship change with a single cut.
-Kill the phones.
Someone who’s willing to let this moment play in full...
Or just let us watch the characters walk from point A to point B.
Even if you don't like Fincher, this is some of the best craft in directing right now and it is absolutely worth studying.
-I'm not the Zodiac, and if I was, I certainly wouldn't tell you.
And if you do like him, here is what he thinks of you.
-I think people are perverts.
-I've maintained that, that's been...
-That's the foundation of my career.