Posted by: philosopherouge | August 29, 2007

Zodiac (Fincher, 2007)

 

Zodiac

Although I’m consistently (and so far, wrongfully) wary of Fincher’s work, he consistently impresses me. His approach is thoughtful and methodological in a day and age when for the most part this has been deemed unnecessary, as consistently content is being dumbed down for audiences. This is to date, his most mature work where he emerces himself and the viewer into investigation, journalism and obssession. His approach is almost clinical, and the only moment of true visceral emotion come in the frightening and unexpected confrontations with the Zodiac himself. The film is one of the most unique crime dramas I’ve seen as it avoids the route of easy emotional payoffs and climaxes. The leads and the unravelling of the mystery is almost inconsequential, as it brings the characters no closer to finding the truth. Fincher puts us into their place, and the film runs on obsession and paranoia rather than the tension that comes with approaching a solution.

The film deals heavily in the intricacies of the human condition in face of extraordinary horrors. More often than not it’s not fear that dominates, but morbid curiosity. For most the Zodiac isn’t a murderor, but a game or a puzzle. The horror of what he does though makes it consequential though, far below the surface I think it’s a more important need to protect yourself and others that is driving them. However, because of the Zodiac’s anonymous nature,this energy is unclear and unfocused. The detachment and frustration are used to mask fear, not only to the outside world but internally supress it so you can continue living your life. This is made apparent when Ruffalo’s character is dissapointed when his favourite suspect is thrown out, he’s not sure if it’s because he was sure he was guilty or if he just wanted it all to end.
Fincher’s cinematography is stunning, and even this early in the year I can’t see it surpassed. At the very least it will deserve it’s nomination come Oscar time. He has a unique signature that permeates through his films, although once again he manages to tone it down bringing his almost hyper impressionistic approach to horror to a cold and clinical study. The performers are also brilliant, every bit counts. Easily the best film of the year for me.

The cinematography is stunning, and even this early in the year I can’t see it surpassed. At the very least it will deserve it’s nomination come Oscar time. He has a unique signature that permeates through his films, although once again he manages to tone it down bringing his almost hyper impressionistic approach to horror to a cold and clinical study. The performers are also brilliant, every bit counts. Easily the best film of the year for me.

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Responses

  1. I think that Fight Club and Seven are, at their cores, a very intelligent attack on modern society. What’s so weird, however, is that all of this is covered with a certain glamour and shine, and any chance of revelation is lost behind the glitz and the story/plot. It’s quite a contradiction…

    But they are cool, nonetheless. Zodiac is one of my friend’s favorites from this year, too, and he wants me to watch it. I have too much on my plate on the moment though…

  2. I haven’t seen Fight Club yet, but this is similar to Se7en in many ways… but honestly it’s a lot less glamarous, and “shiny”. I know what you mean (I think) and even though I really liked Se7en, this is far more mature than it, at least in it’s presentation. I highly recommend it once you get the time.

  3. You make an important point when you say that most of the characters in the film regard the Zodiac “not as a murderer but as a game or puzzle.” I believe that is the organizing principle of the narrative. Mark Ruffalo’s detective character clearly looks at his job in this light (he has a certain playful nature: sending letters to columnists, etc.) Jake Gyllenhaal’s character is in the movie simply because he is drawn to the Zodiac as a puzzle to be solved. The Zodiac himself offers a metaphor for all this in his obsessively coded letters. The fact that the puzzle has never been solved makes it ever more enticing to the codecracker.

  4. I definetely agree with all of that, and personally I think that Fincher did a great job at highlighting these patterns in the narrative and characters.

  5. Zodiac currently holds my number one spot for the year so far. It is easily Finchers’ best work to date and I can not understand how some people are bored by it.

    The one thing I really admired about the film is that Fincher places us in the characters shoes so much that even he tests our point of obsession with finding out who the killer is. A good example of this is when Jake Gyllenhaal meets up with the man who made the posters for the theater and he tells him to go downstairs with him. Part of us feels like screaming at the tv and telling him to not go there meanwhile the other part wants him to go down to see if it can bring some kind of evidence to light. So in other words, we are in Gyllrnhss;s shoes and mindset at that exact moment and we have to face our own obsession too.

    Sure, a lot of other movies and thrillers have done this same kind of scene,but given the approach to the nature of obsession that the film has the scene rises above the rest.

    In simple words…this movie is great.

  6. Totally agreed, that one scene is a perfect example. It is conventional, but somehow feels so fresh and original. It’s also my favourite of the year, and I have to see there have been quite a few gems this year.


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