I was fortunate enough to get couple of tickets to go watch Zodiac on a Saturday night. I saw the trailer of this movie a few months ago and was very excited to see this one because of the director and the cast. Well it seemed that all that build up was for nothing, I was disappointed and it got to a point where I started to wonder when would the frakkin'(paraphrase from “Battlestar Galactica”) movie end. I would imagine David Fincher, who created “Seven,” “Fight Club” and “Panic Room” did not leave out any details from the book in this extremely long snorefest.
WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Zodiac is based on Northern Cal cold-case murders committed by the infamous man who declared himself to be the Zodiac killer. Although the story begins with and develops around the gruesome violence of such a murderer, it transforms into a tale of misfortune in the lives of those who chased him. The cast was very impressive, Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), a modest and a shy newspaper cartoonist who is fascinated and then turns into his obsession with the Zodiac killer’s codes and letters. David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo), a savvy and dedicated SF detective who gets to be assigned to the Zodiac case and finally Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), a reporter who works along with Jake G., driven over the Zodiac killer and a substance abuse addict.
The way this movie begins, with the brutal slayings of few couples are intense and very grabbing. Similarly, there is a scene with a woman and her baby in the car would surely get your nerves up. However, that is pretty much it. The rest of the movie is not about the killer, but about the police investigation surrounding the killings and the misfortunes associated along with the people chasing the killer. With 160 minutes, that’s a lot of dragging on. The only reason I was seated and did not walk out was my curiosity to know who the killer was.
Although, it was roughly 160 minutes long, the characters were never fully developed. Even Gyllenhaal’s character is a muddled mystery at the end of the movie. The movie keeps hopping in different planes — it gets interesting at certain points and then hops into completely something else. The characters never seem to age even over a 25 year period. Gyllenhaal was driving the same car all throughout the movie and it only got better as the movie went on. This here is not to say everything about the film is bad, but at the end of it, it gives you this empty feeling about the whole proceedings. The acting on the whole is very good, Mark Ruffalo as this intense cop with his quips, Jake does a great job of straddling his lines between a lovable annoyance and a OCD maniac. Finally, Robert Downey Jr. as this misguided reporter who works with Gyllenhaal with a serious abuse problem, this might not be too hard to play and relate to his real life scenario, but he does a great job in doing so.
Overall, however, Zodiac is not a bad movie if you have time to spend and the evening to yourself with nothing else to do.