Saturday, 29 January 2011

Zodiac - a film and performance to remember and Brothers released in Germany at last!

As the preparations get under way for the Oscars (see below), there are some reminders about of many of the other 'best of' films that never quite got the Academy Award vote of approval for reasons that are beyond fathoming. And probably aren't worth the effort of fathoming.

David Fincher has an Oscar nomination for his astonishing work on Social Network. While this is enormously well-deserved, it has caused some to wonder why an earlier movie of his, Zodiac, was completely ignored by those award-giving committees. While it isn't productive to dwell on such things, what is extremely rewarding is to think back on a film, which, for me, puts crosses in all of the right boxes. And it's good to think that Fincher's Oscar success this year may attract new audiences to another film - Zodiac.

Zodiac isn't just the perfect police procedural movie, for me it succeeds (so much so it's in my top three films that I have ever seen, maybe even the top one) because it excels and surprises in so many ways. Zodiac is a thriller with many scenes of superb dialogue and minute observation; it is a horror movie that terrifies through a distortion of a recognisable reality; it is an elegant evocation of 1960s' and 1970s' San Francisco. Through detail and song, Zodiac reproduces a past time in a memorable way, reminding one of the past through its accuracy and mood.

And then there's the acting. Jake Gyllenhaal's portrayal of obsessive Robert Graysmith is a landmark performance in his career. In the promotion for Zodiac, Jake spoke of the passions that affected his life - family, food, acting, films - and demonstrated once again why he is such a great actor of his generation - he understands fully the roles he plays.

But it's not just Jake here, of course. Robert Downey Jr, in one of the first of his come back performances, and Mark Ruffalo and the actor whose skills Fincher may have appreciated the most, Anthony Edwards. Plus Chloe Sevigny and John Carroll Lynch who had appeared with Jake in two earlier movies, The Good Girl and Bubble Boy.

Aside from the film, which hooked me from its very first scene, there is also a soundtrack to listen to over and over again and a commentary featuring Jake and Robert Downey Jr together - a joy to listen to. Jake - and not just Jake either, RDJ said much the same thing - has spoken of what he had to endure to make this film. Tens of takes for each scene and, as the movie was filmed digitally, anything extra was instantly deleted.

This was a new experience for Jake but, judging by his body language with David Fincher in Cannes in May 2007, all of this was forgiven and a new relationship born. Jake has spoken recently of his pride in working for David Fincher. Without doubt, this will be an experience to look back on and we have been left with an astonishing film.


Rather surprisingly, Brothers was finally released in Germany this week (27 January). Can there be any sense at all in releasing a film this far removed from its original debut? At least it ties nicely with Natalie Portman's huge Black Swan success.

And finally...

Includes pictures from IHJ and here.

My review of the wonderful Tangled now up on MovieBrit.


Wet Dark and Wild said...

I hope you've all had a good Saturday! I'm celebrating my 5th BBM anniversary with Prince of Persia and the film itself :)

I saw Tangled today - loved it! - my review is now up at MB.

mermon said...

Hm, I'm still not convinced to Zodiac. I started to watched it for second time to give it a chance, and I stopped because I didn't sink in it. But I will give it another try :). I adore Jake I know he's proud of that movie, I know WDW you are crazy about that movie. So I have to discover what both of you found in there :).
Let there be no doubts - Jake's acting in Zodiac is excellent for me, his character developed so much during that movie. And he really looks great in it. I didn't find a chemistry between him and Chloe - in the movie and in the interviews. But it was not about love, so it was not so necessary, maybe.
I hope you had great evening with Jake - WDW.

sass said...

Zodiac deserved all the accolades given to Fincher's Facebook movie this. It was included on most top 5 movies but ignored by all award people. Mark Zuckerberg may have cameo on SNL tonight...Jesse Eisenberg is one of the guest hosts tonight.
I watched Zodiac last week and still love it. I can't explain why but know that I agree with you 21040972% Have a great weekend. Thanks for posting all those great pics.

sass said...

xcuse all typos...:(

winterbird said...

Actually, I always think that Fincher makes movies like Social Network, so he can get to make his next pet project about serial killers ;). Its not that Soical Network isn't a great film, but as I understand, he took on the gig as a hired director, not as involved as his other films, such as Zodiac. That's just fate if he gets best director for this, instead of films like Zodiac!

And happy BBM anniversary ;)

Serene Hill said...

Hi WDW.. Happy BBM anniversary!!!
Been so busy these days with the preparation for Chinese New Year and school...
I love the previous Brokeback post, especially the BBM crew pic...
Truthfully, I don't really get on with Zodiac, maybe because it's just not my type of movie, but Jake's good there, and it got RDJ too, I hope they would work together again in the future(even though I don't know how it would work).
I like the pic with Jake and David Fincher fixing each other's tie :)
Well, Thanks for the post WDW!!!

mermon said...

Good Morning!
On IHJ we have great pictures of shaved and nicely haircutted Jake with Atticus and another guy with a dog. Having a walk :)Jake looks wonderful!

LadyEkster said...

Hahaha, that Oscars vid was so funny. Too bad it's broadcasted at such an unholy hour for Europeans, otherwise I'd love to watch it live.

I hope you've had a great celebration WDW! :) Continuing the fate topic of yesterday's post: after I posted my comment here I watched a tv show I had missed earlier this week on its original airing. Guess which soundtrack they used for the first scenes... BBM. I had shivers all over.

On a side note, we went to see Morning Glory last night. What a fun film! :)

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Hi Mermon! I know Zodiac's not for everyone. It's not my normal type of film either and yet despite that I think it could well be my favourite film ever - everything about it is perfect. To my eyes :) I don't think chemistry was necessary between Jake and Chloe - their characters didn't have that kind of relationship, I don't think. But I thought Chloe did an excellent job with not much to go on.

Hey there Sass! I totally agree :D And I also hope that DF gets his Oscar for Social Network - I can't wait for it to come out on DVD here in a couple of weeks. Good to see you!

Hi Winterbird! Ooh, I didn't know that. But when I first heard they were making SN I knew David would be the man for the job - he can make stories like that fascinating. Mind you, what a cast. Thank you! I watched BBM last night - it was a wonderful experience :)

Hi Serene Hill! Thanks for popping by when you're so busy :) Chinese New Year sounds like fun - not long away now I think? I adore RDJ too and I really hope they work together again. Those two pics of Jake and David are among my most favourite pictures. I have them framed together. They really remind me of my time in cannes.

Hey there Lady Ekster! I did, thank you! And that's spooky - it's that BBM time of year - always waiting to catch us :) The Oscar vd is hysterical. I'm contemplating heading off to my mum's (who has Sky) to stay up for the night. Have to see. It is so so late. Glad you enjoyed Morning Glory! I'm hoping to see that with again on Tuesday with Mr WDW!