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Things We Learned from the Commentary: David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’

February 19, 2013

Gyllenhaal_Zodiac

The work of David Fincher is often defined by the outpouring of information and data — and the ways in which they invade the physical space of his characters and their worlds. Not only does this information serve as the common narrative drive in films such as SevenThe Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it routinely acts as a mirror into our own digital driven world of screens, monitors, names, dates, and codes. The auteur has made nine films since 1992, but few speak to the visceral complexity of his 2007 film Zodiac. The film follows the key investigators and reporters who became obsessed with catching the infamous serial killer, and how their lives were seemingly lost through their endless pursuit.

The director’s cut of the film offers two commentary tracks: one from actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., producer Brad Fischer, screenwriter James Vanderbilt, and crime novelist James Ellroy, the other is a stand-alone commentary from director David Fincher. Having been born in 1962, the events in the film still remain close to Fincher as he would have been just a teenager around the time of the Zodiac killings (late 1960s and early 1970s). When it comes to commentaries, there are few who are as relaxed and informative as Fincher. From the start, he describes his oddly personal connection to the material with such inviting warmth. What makes this a vital and necessary commentary is the attention to detail that the viewer obtains through Fincher’s process driven approach to the material, perhaps a mirror into his protagonists’ obsessive manner. He’ll break down the most inconsequential scene and spit out the precise amount of takes that were spent to capture it.

Read full review at Sound on Sight

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