Directed by David Fincher
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Running Time: 158 mins
Audio: English 2.0, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Release Date: July 24, 2007
Review Date: July 5, 2007
Released in early 2007, David Fincher’s “Zodiac” was a gem that stood out among and otherwise dull crop of films. Featuring a complex story and stellar, believable cast, and gorgeous visuals “Zodiac” is an excellent cinematic adaptation of the novel that tracked the story of one of the most amazing mysteries in American history.
While the press materials make this out to be Jake Gyllenhaal’s movie—he does portray Robert Graysmith, the man who eventually wrote the book exposing the identity Zodiac’s identity—the truth is that this is an ensemble picture, tracking the impact Zodiac had on a variety of people, from victims to police to reporters covering the story, along with their families. The characters are complex and exposed for the whole world to see, in both their successes and failings. Missteps and devolution to alcoholism is shown alongside great steps in defining Zodiac’s identity. The characters are benefited by a cast of some fantastic actors like Robert Downey Jr. (playing a drunk; method acting) and Mark Ruffalo add a great dynamic to the film as we watch them grow along with the case.
The second half of the film is dedicated to Graysmith’s investigation, and resultantly puts the spotlight on Gyllenhaal, who manages to carry the burden without betraying the essence of the character he plays. Graysmith continues to be a little neurotic and socially awkward, but the audience can clearly see the gears turning in his head as he figures out the puzzle. Gyllenhaal’s performance is the lynchpin during this section, and he does not disappoint.
Fincher manages to impart a sense of the chaos, terror, and confusion of the era, telling a long story by jumping ahead to key moments in the Zodiac chronology. It could have been easy to focus on a small slice of the story and tell one or two instances, but taking on the task of detailing the entire case is an ambitious undertaking, and Fincher pulls it off with class and style. Although the film ambles at times and loses focus, it is all meant to represent the larger theme of confusion borne of these types of murky investigations. Not a hair is out of place, as Fincher continues his streak of extraordinary films.
A complex and thought-provoking thriller that questions police procedure and the roe of the press in murder investigations, “Zodiac” is a great film. Created in the vein of “Hollywoodland,” “Zodiac” manages to thrill, engage, and challenge its audience to great success.
On par with any high definition product, this 2.35:1 Anamorphic transfer is simply stunning. I saw the film projected theatrically on its first screening, and I don’t know that it looked any better on film than it does on my home theater. Flawless video quality. Much of the film is shot in low, natural lighting and still fine details are visible and nothing gets obscured that wasn’t meant to be so.
Like the video on this new release, there can be found no fault with the audio track. The 5.1 Dolby Digital experience is immersive, sound coming from every channel and a deep, rich bass accenting the musical score. Dialogue is crisp and clean.
And herein lies the rub. There are two extras on this disc: the first being an advertisement for a director’s cut packed with extras in 2008. The second being a trailer for the forthcoming “Perfume,” which is released on the same day.
I really enjoyed “Zodiac” in the theaters and was looking forward to revisiting it. On second viewing it did not disappoint. If you only want the film in a quality presentation, you will be hard-pressed to do better than this single-disc set. I cannot say a bad thing about the film or presentation. Fans would be advised to hold onto their cash and pick up the upcoming collector’s edition.