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Shared Darkness

A Communal Life in Film, Examined

Zodiac

Zodiac is part brooding investigative ensemble, part journalistic procedural in the vein of All the President’s Men. Fincher’s least stylistically ambitious work to date, as well as his most mature, Zodiac is a strikingly well stitched together vivisection of crime and obsession, marked by a painstaking, novelistic richness that showcases the heavy existential toll of the pursuit of punishment.

The film’s actual violence is relatively minimal, but frontloaded and grimly depicted. Fincher captures the sudden and arbitrary nastiness of these acts, and they carry an awful wallop and enduring influence that hang menacingly over the rest of the film, which exhaustively but thrillingly chronicles the official efforts of two San Francisco homicide detectives, Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo, above) and William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards), as well as the amateur investigations of reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey, Jr.) and San Francisco Chronicle editorial cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal). For the full review, from Screen International, click here. (Paramount, R, 158 minutes)

“That’s Sienna… Ms. Miller if you’re nasty…”

Of all the myriad, funnily named crayons in the jumbo-sized Crayola
boxes that graced the grubby, communal tables of musty, elementary
after-school programs, I remember the hue for “Burnt Sienna” with
unerring clarity
. A ruddy mixture of orange, brown and red, it recalled
the type of thick clay found around Eastern seaboard construction sites — the sort that would streak and stain pavement with the rain, leaving
thick tire marks of accompaniment for blocks in either direction. And
if you accidentally stepped in it and didn’t soon find a wet patch of
grass to work it off your shoe, well, it was bound to travel with you
and then leave its mark on your parents’ or friends’ carpet.

Similarly,
Factory Girl actress Sienna Miller leaves a distinctive mark. A rising starlet who
first made her name — or, more accurately, had it foisted upon her — as
Jude Law’s girlfriend, initially onscreen in Alfie,
then offscreen and throughout the tabloids, Miller is now making her
way in Hollywood sans romantic entanglements, thank you very much
. Or
trying to, at least. For the full feature interview, from FilmStew, click here.