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Zodiac

April 19, 2010

Zodiac

Two for Mondays, that is what I’m going to do since I don’t really remember to post over the weekend.  Or I’ll come up with something less lame later.

I know that this movie is supposed to be very interesting and well done, I must say I didn’t agree with that assessment at all.  The story is obviously based upon the Zodiac Killer in northern California and the fact that it was never solved.  However, this retelling of the story simply lacks all that much luster.

The story starts by following Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist for a paper, who starts solving the puzzles that the Zodiac Killer is sending to the papers.  He starts talking to Robert Avery another reporter at the paper who is much more senior who becomes obsessed with the case.  They start working on the case until Avery falls further and further into the obsession and drunkenness and Graysmith takes on the case by himself.  He starts talking to the Inspector David Toschi who is the lead on the investigation.  Then the story spins off as Toschi works on the investigation off the book and on the book to the angst of his boss.  And that is the part that completely ticks me off about this story.  It goes from Graysmith to Toschi and then it comes back to Graysmith as more time separates from the murders and the messages that are sent.  It also doesn’t help that this is an unsolved case and they clearly want you to believe that it was a specific one of the suspects instead of remaining somewhat open and letting the viewer draw their own conclusions.

The acting in this film is pretty solid.  Robert Avery is played solidly by Robert Downey Jr who probably is the strongest actor in the film.  Even though the role of Inspector Toschi is very good as well.  Mark Ruffalo  is a very solid actor and very underrated as an actor.  This performance doesn’t live up to his previous performances such as You Can Count On Me.  Jake Gyllenhaal takes the lead in this film as Robert Graysmith.  Gyllenhaal isn’t all that great an actor, he is pretty solid, but not all that great.  Chloe Sevigny plays the girlfriend of Graysmith who sticks with him for a long time, but it isn’t all that memorable role.  The performances are just somewhat disappointing with the amount of talent in the film.

The direction in this film is decent with David Fincher.  He has done much better work with Fight Club, Se7en, and even The Game.  It is well shot, but the lack of continuity in the story just doesn’t work all that well.  Fincher should have gotten more talent in this film.  And while it is visually entertaining, it doesn’t make the film good.  It starts off really well, but it loses so much focus in the middle and with the talent of Fincher, it doesn’t help.

Overall this isn’t as good a film as it should have been.  I love to write and read, so the story is the most important aspect to me and that is where this film really suffers.  It is a lot of fun at the beginning and sucks you into it quickly with the puzzles and the intrigue that way.  But once the best acting performance, Ruffalo, is brought into the story as a main character it just really falls apart.

Entertainment Grade: C-

Critical Grade: B

Overall Grade: C

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