I’m constantly being bombarded by people telling him “you haven’t seen ____? You gotta check it out.” Or hearing critics rave “this movie is a classic, a must see.” So I decided that from now on every time I actually watch one of these flicks, I’ll write my take on whether the film lived up to the hype or fell short.
So, what’s the deal with Zodiac?
Zodiac fits right in there with the best of David Fincher’s films. The story is presented in a grand fashion and keeps you interested throughout the whole movie. The film follows the case of the Zodiac serial killer, a person who terrorized San Francisco beginning in the early 70’s. He sent letters to numerous newspapers and political offices with cryptic messages that toyed with the people attempting to solve the case. The film follows Robert Graysmith, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, a cartoonist working at the San Francisco Chronicle at the start of the murders who gets caught up in the puzzles that the Zodiac sends to his editors.
Along with Gyllenhaal, the movie offers a great cast. Robert Downey Jr. plays a quick witted journalist who initially uses Graysmith’s interest in the Zodiac’s letters to assist him in his search. Mark Ruffalo is another nice addition to the cast who plays a detective whose life gets wrapped up in the Zodiac murders. The rest of the cast features some well-known actors such as Chloë Sevigny and Donald Logue who are always nice to see pop up in movies.
The best part of the film may be the effects. Honestly, without some research you may not notice just exactly which scenes have CGI effects added to them. They are done in such a subtle way that they add so much without drawing any attention to the effects themselves. I think this is a great testimony to Fincher’s ability as a filmmaker to use effects in way that doesn’t show them off, but instead uses them to fulfill his overall vision.
The movie feels complete despite the fact that the case remains unsolved until today. The story talks about the man that is widely believed to be the Zodiac killer, but still manages to stay suspenseful as it unfolds by offering multiple suspects. If you do know who the killer is believed to be then the story may not be as suspenseful as it would for those who don’t, but is filled with enough plot and interesting characters to keep you entertained until the end.