Saturday, March 3, 2007

Zodiac (2007)

* * *

Zodiac is a hit-and-miss movie, as its three star rating states, but in a movie this long, thats a significant amount of misses, and the misses overshadow the hits for the most part. Based on the true story of the Zodiac killer, Zodiac is more of a chronicle of how detective work is done than a jump-out-and-scare-you, hold you to your seat thriller. The "based on a true story" factor is one of the strong points of the movie, as it is interesting and entertaining to watch how such a bizarre turn of events over such a long period of time could happen. You are led down several paths, but unlike most films, all of the characters are right along with you with either no idea who the culprit is or sure they have him when it is in fact wrong. The directing is done quite well, as you feel transported right into the late sixties. The style of the set and wardrobe are completely authentic and the soundtrack could be a #1 album. Although David Fincher creates a genuine atmosphere for a true story to take place, fans of his other great films Seven and Fight Club will be disappointed. The biggest miss of this film is the length; it is entirely too long. There is a nearly forty-five minute stretch of the film where the main character, Jake Gyllenhaal, is not on camera. The acting is very average with no stand-out performances. The previously mentioned Gyllenhaal is not bad but not great as Robert Graysmith, who tirelessly researched the Zodiac killer and authored the book Zodiac. Robert Downey Jr.'s performance is very, very entertaining, but does not hold much artistic merit. He is memorable as an eccentric coke-snorting drunk Paul Avery, but is this any different from the real life Robert Downey Jr.? His wardrobe, including some late sixties dress-shirt-scarf combinations, is without question sweet. Mark Ruffalo is completely forgettable as Inspector David Toschi. John Carroll Lynch, who many will remember as the lovable Norm Gunderson from Fargo, is only on-screen briefly but performs well as a possible suspect. Another performance worth mentioning is Donal Logue, the taxi driver in early nineties MTV commercials and the star of the former Fox series Grounded for Life, as Ken Narlow. Unforunately, the small roles outshine the stars in the film, and even so only by a little. As can be said for Robert Downey Jr.'s performance, the film is entertaining, but is it really art? Or even good film? For a suspense movie, this is far above the usual five Hollywood suspense thrillers that are released each week, and will find a certain audience. With more editing, a more concise story line, and a stand-out performance, it would be a must-see.

Good For: suspense fans, a date, people who like movies based on truth

Bad For: people who can't hold their pee well

The Gallery
The Economist: * *
The Surfer: * * * *
The Film Maker: * * * *

1 comment:

Trevin Shirey said...

Just saw it for the second time last night.

I'm a pretty big fan of it. Downey Jr. was hilarious. I always like Gyllenhaal for some reason.

I hope he's not destined to be lovers with me or anything.