Zodiac: Two-Disc Director's Cut David Fincher

Zodiac: Two-Disc Director's Cut David Fincher
Given the years of commitment invested by the protagonists of true crime film Zodiac, which concerns the famed San Francisco serial killer of the mid-’60s, it was surprising that Zodiac, having underperformed at the box office, arrived on DVD last fall unadorned. Fans of director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) know him to be obsessively detail-oriented; Zodiac, his elegiac meditation not on the killings but their impact on a feisty reporter (Robert Downey Jr.), an earnest cop (Mark Ruffalo) and the editorial cartoonist who became the ultimate expert (Jake Gyllenhaal) is equal to Fincher’s level of obsession. Now this two-disc "director’s cut” DVD matches the film with its own careful, extra-curricular explorations. The DVD takes two sides: examining the film’s meticulous construction and true-life level of detail, right down to the murder victims’ clothes based on crime scene evidence. The other side is the Zodiac killings, where the evidence lies, what might be discovered with today’s technology and why they had such a cultural stranglehold. (Dirty Harry’s Scorpio killings are just one inspiration.) The "making of,” "Zodiac Deciphered,” gives exhaustive detail on locations, digital effects and performance, while "This is the Zodiac Speaking” is an all-new re-examination of the case and the reasons why Zodiac was never caught. (The case remains open.) As expected, Fincher’s commentary track is thoughtful and considered, but it’s the surprising group commentary with film producers, stars Downey and Gyllenhaal, and crime novelist James Ellroy that proves to be both delightfully entertaining (mostly from enthusiast Ellroy) and informative (producers Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt). At the core of this DVD release is the film, a remarkably considered and beautifully constructed meditation on media and obsession; and though billed as a director’s cut, there are only slight changes to Fincher’s already masterful, and lengthy, theatrical release. Trust him to get it right the first time, or at least not let it out of his hands until he’s happy. Plus: visual effects featurette, more. (Paramount)