8 April 2018 0.09am
A David Fincher Film
This is one of the few David Fincher films that’s bypassed me since the 3rd Alien film marked his debut. One of cinema’s great visual stylists – along with Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg – it’s remarkably restrained in terms of camera placement and flashy movements. Panic Room, for instance, was extraordinary for its placement of the camera in places it couldn’t fit, and going where cameras can’t go. But somewhere amongst the genius of the visuals in Panic Room the film was overwrought. It’s as if Fincher took the word panic from the title and then spread it across every facet of his filmmaking style.
Here, in Zodiac, the film has a different feel than any other David Fincher film that comes to mind (other than his greatest film, the serial-killing Se7en. It’s like he’s recreating All the President’s Men, with all the cloak-and-dagger, but in a complex serial-killer mystery thriller. After the first few murders are over, he settles into exploring characterisations and showing the meticulous research by the detectives and Graysmith in pursuing what was for several decades an unsolvable crime. Possibly even now.
At the end, it’s all based on Graysmith’s findings, which may have been tickled to underline significant comparisons, and then may have been tickled further by Fincher to make even more significant associations of the facts on record. Who knows? This kind of riddle and how it is depicted in a film is almost always impossible for a viewer to fathom what was true and what was the use of a creative licence.
What it does do, however, is plot the research of several real people across a period of fifteen to twenty years, and make it more complex than a Michael Connelly thriller, more dimensional than a James Patterson thriller, and more intriguing than anything Agatha Christie ever conceived of.
Well done, David Fincher!