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The Color Theory of Zodiac

Because nothing says “obsession with an elusive killer” fairly like the colour of bile.

Paramount Pictures

By Meg Shields · Published on November twenty fourth, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your each day distraction of curated video content material sourced from throughout the net. Today, we’re watching a video essay in regards to the metaphorical position of the colour yellow in David Fincher’s movie Zodiac.


For all of its sunny connotations, the colour yellow is definitely fairly underrepresented in movie. Yellow tones have a tendency to hold a bunch of sinister connotations: shades of warning, illness, toxicity, and barren landscapes.

But David Fincher, by no means one to draw back from committing his movies to colourful motifs, isn’t one to draw back from a colourful problem … particularly when a narrative corresponding to Zodiac‘s is begging for these bile-toned hues.

Released in 2007, Zodiac relies on James Vanderbilt’s 1986 non-fiction e book of the identical identify, which obsessively particulars the manhunt for the serial killer who terrorized the Bay Area in the course of the late Sixties and early Seventies. Unlike some of its cinematic true-crime friends, Zodiac‘s focus is. not on pathologizing the titular killer, but zeroing in on the consuming effect the case had on both San Francisco and the men attempting to catch the killer. Zodiac is a film about an obsession that is itself … obsessive. And Fincher’s dedication to historic accuracy is each technically spectacular and metaphorically acceptable for a narrative all about chasing down the reality.

The dominance of the colour yellow, then, is becoming for a movie primarily set within the Seventies, a decade infamous for a sure “brownness.” A stable string of Seventies procedurals depict society as polluted and ambiguous. And Zodiac‘s emphasis on the era’s penchant for earthy, piss-colored hues displays that. But, because the video essay beneath explains in additional element, yellow does double responsibility as each set-dressing and recurring motif. Yellow is without delay the colour related to many of the killer’s crimes (a cab, a dry subject in a component, and so on.) however it is usually the marker of the killer’s affect on the town and people obsessive about him. Characters within the case’s vice grip maintain quick to their yellow vests, shirts, and e book jackets. The metropolis might abandon its mustard columns and amber lighting, however they will’t shake the murky thriller the Zodiac left in his wake.

Watch “Zodiac: The Hidden Meaning of Yellow”:


Who made this?

This video essay on the position of the colour yellow in David Fincher’s Zodiac is by Adam Tinius, who runs the YouTube channel Entertain the Elk. They are based mostly in Pasadena, California. You can observe them on YouTube here. And you may observe them on Twitter here.

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Related Topics: David Fincher, The Queue, Zodiac

Meg Shields is the common-or-garden farm boy of your desires and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She presently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How’d They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She can be a curator for One Perfect Shot and a contract author for hire. Meg might be discovered screaming about John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ on Twitter right here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).

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