No period in film history is perfect. We tend to look back on other eras as superior to the one in which we were living — at least creatively. It’s easy to look at The Godfather and lament the fact that they don’t make movies like that anymore. It’s easy to look at Casablanca and dream of a better time in cinema, where a big hit didn’t require $200 million.
However, that’s simply not the case. Today’s era of film and TV has just as many pros as it has cons. Though, let’s not kid ourselves. As much as I love the current film landscape we live in, there ARE problems with a lot of today’s films and with the industry as a whole. Speaking with The Financial Times (via The Playlist) while promoting his latest series, Mindhunter, filmmaker David Fincher discussed the weaknesses of today’s cinematic landscape.
“There’s no time for character in movies. No, now. Look at All The President’s Men — everything is character. Now, movies are about saving the world from destruction. There aren’t a lot of scenes in movies, even the ones I get to make, where anyone gets to muse about the why. It’s mostly the ticking clock. And in this show it’s hard to find the ticking clock. But the thing is: I don’t care if the whole scene is five pages of two people in a car sipping coffee from paper cups as long as there’s a fascinating power dynamic and I learn something about them. And I do not care if the car is doing somewhere between 25 and 35 miles per hour.”
But of course, if you want to make movies in this business, there’s only so much a fight you an put up when the studios are the ones with the money. Fincher acknowledged that in order to make movies, you have to stay in the lanes of the studio system.
“Look, there’s a very large talent pool of people who are—don’t feel there’s much for them in terms of sustenance (working for Marvel). And I think that if we can make a playground for them that is thoughtful, adult, interesting, complex, challenging stories and figure out ways to pull them into it, there’s a chance at something that isn’t lassoed and hogtied by three acts. And there’s something else that doesn’t have to be 22-minute half hour or have a cliffhanger. I think it is an exciting time. The cinema isn’t dead. It just does something different. The place is still filled with kids, it’s just they’re all on their phones. It’s a social event like a bonfire, and the movie is the bonfire. It’s why people gather but it’s not actually there to be looked at. Because the bonfire is always the same.”
While I don’t quite agree with the idea that no one pays attention to the films nowadays (in today’s content-rich world, I’d argue the opposite), his point is very much taken. All in all, yes, there are some weak aspects of today’s generation of films. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it better or worse. It’s just a wholly different beast than it used to be.
Let us know if you agree with Fincher down below!