Eugene Weekly : Movies : 3.8.07



Zodiac Directed by David Fincher. Written by James Vanderbilt, based upon the book by Robert Graysmith. Cinematography, Harris Sevides. Music, David Shire. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Chloë Sevigny, Anthony Edwards, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, Dermot Mulroney and Donal Logue. Paramount Pictures, 2007. R. 158 minutes.

Two years after Leonardo DiCaprio proclaimed himself king of the world, David Fincher actually occupied the throne. No, Fincher wasn’t Brad Pitt or Gwyneth Paltrow — who met, as it happens, on the set of Fincher’s Seven — but among Hollywood directors in 1999, David Fincher was a star. Seven, a grisly but unforgettable crime drama, was a surprisingly intelligent film, propelling Kevin Spacey into Tom Hanks-like ubiquity and revealing Morgan Freeman at his weary best. As good as Seven was, however, it was Fight Club that mobilized the Fincher fraternity. Deranged and nihilistic but wholly original, Fight Club portrayed males as so culturally malnourished that organized fights become acts of healing. Fincher was immediately labeled a genius, which is like getting a college degree or malaria: Once it’s yours, it’s with you forever. Read more…


The Lives of Others Written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Starring Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme and Hans-Uwe Bauer. Sony Pictures Classics, 2007. R. 137 minutes. ACADEMY AWARD FOR BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM.

The dramatically named Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s debut feature film becomes more affecting with every word one reads about the film. Von Donnersmarck had relatives in East Germany, some of whom were involved in the massive network of informers; the actor who plays Stasi (secret police) captain Gerd Wiesler, Ulrich Mühe, was a theater actor observed by the Stasi. His wife, he discovered years later, was registered as an informer. “When people ask him how he prepared for the role,” von Donnersmarck says in the film’s production notes, “Ulrich Mühe answers: ‘I remembered.'” Read more…



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