All of the films I've seen of his clearly show his love of cinema. Shots that straight through a key lock to the other side and then swooping back again. A lot of motion. Captivating motion. The house and the safe are also characters in this movie, which I really appreciate.
His cinematography makes it clear as to why he's such a wildly celebrated filmmaker. It draws you in. You move through the space, into the space and out of the space while at the same time experiencing a very intense and white-knuckle story that glues you to the edge of your seat. Several times I found myself literally with my back arched and knees locked, feeling the tension. That's what I love about him as a filmmaker. He's visceral. He's able to translate the emotional ups and downs of the characters and the situation in a cinematographic way. He tells a story that captivates, and you experience the telling of the story in rich detail.
I'm giving this film an eight. Why, you ask? Well, originally it was going to be a nine, but I found myself distracted by Dwight Yoakam's acting. If you see the film, you'll see what I mean. His character didn't seem fleshed out and his acting was over-exaggerated. One moment he's calm cool tough guy psychopath and the next he's acting hysterical. I didn't feel he was true to the character. It was an interesting swing to see these both sides of the character, but I felt he could have dialed it back a bit.
Forrest Whittaker is fantastic at portraying a guy who's gone bad who also has a good heart. There's a gravity to his performance that I really like. He's clearly the most likable villain. At the same time, he wants his piece of the pie.
Jarod Leto was solid. I loved his mannerisms. He has a real command of his character's body language, which I really liked. Leto in general has a bright energy on the screen. Has a lot of meltdowns.
The mother and child connection was surprisingly caring and believable. You feel the love these two characters feel for one another, and it's a strong element of the story as a whole.
Foster was fantastic. Utterly believable. There is not a second where you don't feel the intensity inside of this person who wants to save herself and her child. She's sympathetic. She does this wild-eyed thing when she's under pressure that I really like.
Steward was great. I really have not much to say other than, there are a lot of cringy teenage performances that I've seen (The kids in the Visit, anyone?) but Stewart did a really solid job in this movie.
I loved this film. I have no complaints about the ending or whatever. I thought it was a top-notch, underrated Thriller. Fincher's a very intelligent, thoughtful filmmaker. I wanna watch another one right now, actually...