I have long held this belief: if one were to give the script for a rote biopic to an exceptionally skilled director, they could make an exceptional biopic rather than a rote biopic.

There are no working directors today more exceptional than David Fincher — so imagine my disappointment to find out I am incorrect. This is a competent script, but nevertheless, it is a rote script. It is overstuffed, but still has little to say. Fincher cannot save it from itself. This script clearly resonated with the late Jack Fincher, but it doesn’t seem to have resonated the same way with David Fincher.

Despite that, it’s an incredibly well-directed movie, stuffed to the brim with excellent performances. This is a Fincher film, after all. It’s impeccable — a breath of fresh air, as always. Fincher’s hand is omnipresent, yet never visible (outside of the annoying transitions with the typewriter effect). He is a true maestro. It’s a pity his seemingly effortless work is in the service of a script that tries too hard to accomplish too little.

I imagine I will return to this (Fincher’s B movies are better than so many others’ A movies), but I will do so with tempered expectations. I hope Fincher doesn’t make us wait six more years before he makes another film about the next lunatic or obsessive who catches his eye.

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