Computer-generated imagery tends to get a bad rap among cinephiles for the way its digitization can shatter the illusion of reality or distract from the action. Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It, for example, probably would’ve been that much scarier had Pennywise’s gaping maw been rendered with practical effects rather than pixelated ones. But CGI has purposes beyond the rendering of monsters, robots, and hairless upper lips. As the above video shows us, director David Fincher used it to help fine-tune the environmental details of his recent Netflix series, Mindhunter.
Mindhunter is such a sober, straightforward show that you wouldn’t imagine there being any CGI onscreen. But the 10-episode series about the FBI’s development of criminal psychology takes place in 1977, and the aesthetic effects of technology make reflecting an accurate vision of that time a tough task for any director. Fincher seems to have taken things a step further, however, scrubbing shots of all modern trappings while adding trees, vintage cars, and accurate city skylines. It’s incredibly painstaking work, but Fincher is nothing if not meticulous.
A good thing, too. Mindhunter is too good of a show for its story to be ignored in favor of nerds on the internet screaming about a 1986 Honda Civic idling in the background.