I’ve been enthralled for years by the story of the Zodiac killer so I was very much looking forward to seeing this flick – not sure why it took me so long but I’m happy that I’ve finally gotten around to seeing it. For those that don’t know, Zodiac tells the story of a serial killer in the San Francisco area in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The Zodiac killer murdered 5 people, sent multiple letters to the police taunting them and was never captured. The case remains open and unsolved.
The cast of this David Fincher directed movie is absolutely amazing. I actually didn’t realize just how many big names are in here… every time a new scene came up I found myself saying “Wow… he’s in this too?” Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox just to name a few. Even with such an outstanding cast, there is still one performance that stands above the rest. Robert Downey’s portrayal of Paul Avery is worth watching the movie for… wow. Not only does Downey give a dramatic performance but even gave me a laugh out loud moment. There’s a scene where he and Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) are sitting in a bar and Graysmith is drinking some blue concoction. Avery turns to him and says, “This can no longer be ignored.” Graysmith tells him it’s called an Aqua Velva and that it’s not as bad as it looks. The scene cuts to about 10 empty glasses and the two of them obviously drunk. Hilarious.
The movie is on the slow side and is definitely on the long side (two and a half hours). That said, I’m not sure how you could tell such an intricate story in less time. Fincher does a great job with the passage of time and even though the story takes place over multiple years the audience never gets “lost” in the story. You really get a sense of the hopelessness that the police were feeling after months and years went by with very few leads in the case. And when there’s a new potential break in the case you find yourself getting very excited. Great film making. The murder scenes in here are actually pretty few and far between so I certainly wouldn’t call this a “horror” film at least in typical sense of the word. I suppose I’d classify it as “suspense”.
It came as no surprise that I was disappointed in the ending of the film. It’s based on a true story and the true story really doesn’t have an ending so how could the film? Even though we’re given a “no ending”, Fincher does give us some sense of closure with some text at the end of the film. If you’re looking for a fast paced slasher flick this one isn’t for you. However, if you’re into suspenseful films that really delve into the story this is a definite thumbs up. And if you’re a “fan” of the Zodiac story than you NEED to see this one as it’s the most accurate portrayal of the story I’ve ever seen.