One of the best ways to learn about any given filmmaker is to study his or her shot list. Just last month, an invaluable video essay broke down all 678 shots in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” to explore how the filmmaker uses shot lengths and edits to create a particular tone for the viewer that matches the character’s experience. If Anderson loves letting the camera linger, then consider David Fincher his polar opposite.
Film editor Vashi Nedomansky, who worked on Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” has created amazing new graphics (via No Film School) that take a birds eye view at all of the shots in both “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Gone Girl.”
Just to provide some perspective: There are 678 shots in “There Will Be Blood,” but there are 2,400 shots in “Gone Girl” and 2,964 shots in “Dragon Tattoo.” But just because Fincher loves to cut doesn’t necessarily mean his films feel agitated or rushed.
One of things you learn when looking at all the stills is just how brilliant he is in keeping every scene visually interesting and forcing the viewer to pay attention. He’ll create a systematic rhtyhym of shots just to shoot Daniel Craig staring at his computer, for instance, or he’ll alternate between medium close ups and tight shots while filming a conversation between Carrie Coon and Ben Affleck.
You can study the films on a shot-by-shot basis by clicking on each image below.