Thursday, August 02, 2007


Zodiac is one of those movies that cause you to jump at every bump in the night for about an hour after you watch it. Directed by David Fincher ("Seven," "Fight Club" and "The Game"), who is a master of creating dark urban settings so alive as to be character themselves, re-creates the San Francisco of the late sixties and seventies so palpably, you feel less like a viewer and more like a bystander caught up in the fear and paranoia created by the killer who terrorized the bay area nearly forty years ago.

The film follows San Francisco journalists and detectives as they desperately try to discover the killer's identidy. The cast is excellent as Jake Gyllenhall plays the boy scout Chronicle cartoonist who becomes obsessed with solving the case because no one else will. Mark Ruffalo gives a grounded performance as a dedicated cop who becomes burnt out as the case turns up one dead end after another. And Robert Downey Jr. is brilliant as a smart-ass journalist who self destructs into drugs and alcholism.

Fincher puts us right there wrapped up in the tension, confusion, mistakes, dead-ends, hopes, and frustrations as the characters work their way through a maze investigating the case. As critic Richard Roeper points out, this movie refreshingly focuses more on the reporters and cops rather than the methodology and madness of the killer. We only see what they see. We only know what they know. And the result is a tense, thoughtfully paced thriller that completely owns you for two and a half hours.

And for about an hour afterwards too.


Jason Campbell said...

Nice, I'll put this on the list of "I can't watch this with Melissa" movies...

Studyhound said...

"Robert Downey Jr. is brilliant as a smart-ass journalist who self destructs into drugs and alcholism."

Now really is it brilliant or just Robert Downey Jr being himself?

Trevor Elliott said...

I have not had a lot of time to look over your post, but I did enjoy Zodiak. It was the kind of movie that builds up the suspense to the boilng point so that when the event occur it seems really morbid and disturbing. Jake good review.