Dark. Moody. Atmospheric. All words to describe a candlelight dinner with Johnny Betts. But these words can also be used to accurately describe David Fincher's latest foray into the serial killer genre.
Zodiac has been on my "most anticipated" list for quite some time, but having watched many documentaries and read several articles on the subject, I couldn't help but wonder how the film could completely keep my interest when I already knew so much about the material. Plus, we're all aware that the case officially remains unresolved, so are we to resign ourselves to accept an unsatisfactory conclusion?
It took no more than the film's chilling opening scene to cast my fears aside and glue me to the seat for 158 minutes. My familiarity with the source material actually heightened my enjoyment because I was surprised at how accurately the film depicted the events. I recognized names and details that I wouldn't have otherwise.
I also feel that not definitively knowing the Zodiac's identity adds more suspense to the story. We're introduced to a number of suspects, and since this is, in part, one man's interpretation of circumstantial evidence, we're allowed to assume that any of the suspects could be the mysterious killer. It's a plot device that effectively keeps the viewer in a constant state of unease.
I know there are multiple theories on the Zodiac's identity, so you can argue that the film ends on an anticlimactic note. But the movie does have focus, and it presents a compelling case against one of the suspects in such a way that it delivers as much closure as you can expect.
The actors are great (especially Downey and his welcome comic relief), the atmosphere is foreboding, and the investigative process is engaging. It may run a little long for some, but I didn't mind the runtime at all. It's a fascinating case, and I wanted all the information the movie was willing to give me.
Zodiac is the kind of film that sticks with you. I was at a friend's house late after the screening, and when I arrived home I saw a lone car's headlights appear from up the street. My heart began to race a little as I hastened to my door. I knew then and there that a new Zodiac killer was in the vicinity, and I had no time to tarry.
It's been a while since a movie instilled that sort of realistic dread, and I don't know if that's a good thing, but it's certainly a sign (no pun intended) of the film's success in heightening our awareness of what kind of real-life monsters might be lurking in the shadows.
Zodiac gives viewers an excellent combination of nerve-racking suspense and desperately obsessed police procedural work. The majority of viewers with even the slightest interest in the case should be riveted. Those of you with a severely small attention span should probably stick to Norbit instead.
Crime / Drama
Crime / Drama
A serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area taunts police with his letters and cryptic messages. We follow the investigators and reporters in this lightly fictionalized account of the true 1970's case as they search for the murderer, becoming obsessed with the case. Based on Robert Graysmith's book, the movie's focus is the lives and careers of the detectives and newspaper people.
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August 8, 2011 at 12:34 am