In need of a David Fincher fix and can’t wait until Christmas for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Check out the director’s new Nike commercial. With help from one of our favorite cinematographers (Emmanuel Lubezki, who shot Children of Men) and plenty of special effects, Mr. Fincher’s spot traces the lives of San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu from womb to football field in the span of one minute.
The spot, titled “Fate”, played almost ad nauseam over the weekend. We might have seen it twenty times. But it clearly works. In fact, the group of cynical sports fans we were watching the NFL games with yesterday actually paused to comment on how cool this commercial was; somewhere Don Draper is smiling.
Maybe it’s because we prefer Mr. Fincher, or maybe because using a remixed version Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a killer score selection to help build tension, but we found this spot wholly better than Michael Mann’s similar effort from last fall. Still that’s like arguing apples versus apples. The big story here is that once again, Nike was able to get a beloved director to film a shoe commercial. And in Mr. Fincher’s case, we’re glad they did. Plus, with reports of Benjamin Button clocking in at over three hours, after Zodiac hit two-and-a-half, it’s comforting to know that the director can still tell a good story without using miles of film stock.