Saturday, March 03, 2007


Zodiac is the true story behind the murders that many crime scholars believe to be the most perplexing series of unsolved crimes in modern history. David Fincher, director of Fight Club and Seven, tells the mysterious tale of the infamous Zodiac: A relentless serial killer is stalking the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area, leaving citizens locked into a constant state of panic and baffled authorities scrambling for clues. Though the killer sadistically mocks the detectives by leaving a series of perplexing ciphers and menacing letters at the crime scenes, the investigation quickly flat-lines when none of the evidence yields any solid leads. As two detectives remain steadfast in their devotion to bringing the elusive killer to justice, they soon find that the madman has control not only over their careers, but their very lives as well. (All Movie Guide)

This is a movie that clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes and yet, for me, it seemed like an hour and a half. I was already familiar with the Zodiac murders, but watching the details play out from start to as close to an end as you could get was absolutely mesmerizing. I felt every actor involved was superb and even though Jake Gyllenhaal will get most of the accolades, I felt that the performances by Robert Downey Jr as Paul Avery and Mark Ruffalo as Inspector David Toschi were as equally engaging. Toschi, by the way, was the inspiration for Steve McQueen's Frank Bullitt.

My favorite part of the film, however, had to be David Fincher. For me, what really set this movie apart from any other attempt or an A & E recreation was the attention to detail. Absolutely everything in each scene is representative of the specific time period. It actually felt like I was a fly on the wall as these events were unfolding. It is my understanding that Robert Graysmith, author of the two books on which the movie is based and the character in which Gyllenhaal portrays in the film, had his pick of directors and decided on Fincher, a San Francisco Bay Area native, because Fincher was more interested in making a good movie rather than opening weekend gross. Also, as a 7-year-old kid, Fincher remembered being escorted to school by police after Zodiac threatened an attack on a school bus.


Chris said...

Haven't even heard of this movie yet. Nor do I remember hearing about the case. I'll have to make sure not to see any trailers for it (they always seem to give away some major plot twist which I find completely frustrating). Robert Downy & Mark Rufalo are two of my favorite actors so I'll definetly check it out when ever it gets here.

I take it when you were a kid you lived in San Fran?

John Taylor said...

hi chris,
From the movies that you have mentioned, I think it would be a safe assumption that you will like this film. The case has been the inspiration for several movies, the most famous being "Dirty Harry."

And, alas no, I've never lived in San Fran, my memory (which is a curse) and my curiosity can often give a false impression of intimate familiarity when, in actuality, the simple truth is that I read and investigate (and retain) entirely too much.

However, I do hope to visit San Fran at some point and perhaps I may get the chance when I fulfill my dream of moving to the Pacific Northwest.

Chris said...

Ooops, my fault. I just reread your post and I thought it was you that had the school bus escort. Now I realise it was the director. The Pacific Northewest is absolutely beautiful country. But I'm more familier with Seattle. I've only driven through San Fran and got comepletely lost trying to find a camp ground. But Seattle, well there is the coffee thing to start. Watch out for the slugs.