So much has already been written about David Fincher’s serial-killer masterpiece that it’s astounding there are still layers yet to be explored—especially in the eerie timeliness of the movie’s free-floating fear and lack of closure. As Fincher himself says on the DVD, “it gradually becomes a story about justice, the obsession with justice. What is justice? At what point can you let go? At what point have you gotten what you need in order to move on?”
It’s a dazzling commentary track that ranges from the political to the personal (Fincher has vivid childhood stories of growing up in Marin County during the killer’s spree) to the technical. Many scenes were completely reshot, the perfectionist director admits. If Stanley Kubrick ever did commentary tracks, they would have sounded a lot like this.
Paramount’s two-disc set is essential not only for fans of Zodiac, but for those hooked on sifting through the facts of the unsolved case. Two terrific new documentaries accompany the film, both of them built out of long, Errol Morris–type sit-downs with the actual participants: detectives, survivors, journalists, phone operators. All still seem shaken nearly 40 years later.This being a director’s cut, there are new scenes included in the film. Inevitably (as with most extended cuts), they don’t add up to anything significant. One is a Charlie’s Angels–like conversation between cops and a speakerphone; another is a K-tel–sounding audio montage of 1970s hits, filling up a space of previously silent blackness. They’re not a detriment. And if they allowed Fincher to do this double-disc set, they’re worth it.