Title – Zodiac (2007)
Director – David Fincher (Se7en)
Cast – Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Edwards, Chloë Sevigny, Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch
Plot – A look at the Zodiac killings that took place throughout the San Francisco area in the late 60’s and early 70’s and how it consumed the lives of newspaper cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal), reporter Paul Avery (Downey Jr) and police inspector David Toschi (Ruffalo).
“I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it’s him”
Review by Eddie on 02/03/2016
A movie that for David Fincher’s lofty standards was met with a somewhat muted critical response and also a box office haul that didn’t even scrap together enough to cover a $60 million dollar plus budget, Zodiac remains the directors true underrated gem and a film that deserves a place alongside some of cinemas best detective/murder procedural tales.
Zodiac is a unique film, a based on real life account of the Zodiac killings that haunted the American populace in the late 60’s and early 70’s with a raft of public taunting’s that often were followed with grizzly and seemingly random murders, it’s a film that cares little for character development or the likes yet focus’s its intentions and carefully crafted gaze on the investigation itself, throwing the audience into the time and into the thick of it to create tension and intrigue unlike many other such films.
Working with the late D.O.P Harris Savides, Fincher delivered what could well be his most beautiful film yet made. Shooting in a striking visual palette, Fincher crafts his camera around the San Francisco cityscape and surrounding areas to striking effect. Building’s form in front of our eyes, taxi’s weave through the city at night and basements become more ominous than we could’ve ever imagined under his watchful eye and the script by James Vanderbilt (whose sadly not gone on with the promise shown here) does a great job at condensing the drawn out saga into a cohesive whole and his work on the film seems perfectly suited to a man of Fincher’s powers.
Zodiac’s failings to initially make a mark upon release are hard to pinpoint, although there were lots of critics that hailed its slow paced stylings and dialogue heavy scenes, there were equal amounts of naysayers that seemed to prefer their Fincher more Fight Club than the procedural that takes place here, although the films sparring violence is haunting – a stabbing scene in particular is hard to forget – and the moments where Fincher takes us into the heart of suspect interrogation showcase a tension and unease that only the best of films can do.
A great cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr do great work without ever taking over Zodiac and Fincher’s film takes all its power and crafts all its magic through the use of its couldn’t make it up if you tried narrative and an understanding of material that no doubt came from Fincher’s renowned attention to detail.
A long watch and a film not made for the average popcorn muncher that floods our cinema screen in this day and age in search of their next CGI spectacle, Zodiac is a meticulously crafted and tension riddled journey through a time in American history that to this day remains an intriguing and engaging subject matter, Zodiac is the hidden jewel of Fincher’s filmography and a film well worth a repeat viewing for those that may’ve only watched once.
4 ½ animal cracker boxes out of 5