DVD Review: Zodiac

Movie •••½ Picture •••• Sound •••½ Extras None
Director David Fincher is known for stylish and violent movies like Se7en and Fight Club, so he would seem a natural choice for this look at the real-life serial killer who struck Northern California in the late 1960s and early '70s. But Fincher wisely pushes against his reputation here, opting for a relatively sedate, character-driven thriller that still manages to plumb the darkness of the soul.

Despite that tonal shift, Fincher's visual panache remains in full force throughout this crisp and well-crafted 2.35:1 picture. Zodiac is a remarkable period piece: Shot in high-def, the film captures its era via carefully rendered visual detail, from the sets and costumes to San Francisco's soaring architecture. A time-lapse sequence in which the Transamerica Pyramid rises rapidly to show the passing years is especially memorable. The DVD transfer brings it all together effortlessly. Color rendition is vibrant in a style suited to the story's time and place, without crossing the line into garishness. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is fairly subdued, emphasizing dialogue and ample period music over effects, but it comes to life quite forcefully when needed.

The disc's only disappointment is the complete lack of extras. Still, a special edition might make more sense in the future, once Zodiac achieves cult status.

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