Sunday, May 20, 2007

Zodiac: Most Disappointing

The problem with true stories (unless they're about warfare) is that they're usually dull. This film sadly didn't change that particular opinion. The film is about a serial killer operating in the San Fransisco Bay Area in the late 60's. He sends cyphers to the major newspapers which supposedly reveal his identity. A young cartoonist becomes obsessed with solving the case of the killer who calls himself Zodiac.

The movie started out quite promising introducing the characters and of course the killer's atrocities in which I was I can say thoroughly engaged. However the movie took a downturn half-way through as the long drawn out investigation took its toll on the police and reporters investigating and finally delivered a lacklustre anti-climax.

What was the best thing about the movie was also the most disappointing: Zodiac only killed 4 people on screen and could only be confirmed as a killer of only a couple of others, hardly enough to warrant a 158 minute film!! The killings themselves were quite well photographed but most unimaginative; 3 shootings (one victim survived) and two stabbings? C'mon! They certainly could have at least a few arterial spurts. I mean just came off the set of a low-budget short film myself which has more gore in one poor sod than in all 4 victims here - I was kind of hoping for something a bit more from David Fincher, the man who directed the unique methodology of killing people in Se7en. I was prepared for that or something like SAW or Hostel but I was severely let down by the lack of creativity.

Jake Gyllenhaal was unconvincing as an obsessed cartoonist Robert Graysmith who lost almost his entire life to tracking down the Zodiac for years. The message we get from Graysmith is nothing more than a lesson to people that nothing is worth putting your family at risk or almost loosing them completely least of all to write a book? He was a Boy-Scout (or Eagle Scout as he corrected people) who didn't drink or smoke, which quite frankly was a bit hard to swallow in 1960's San Francisco. I'm sure it's true but it still felt like the film writers tacked on this to generate sympathy for or to make him more likeable to the audience considering his path to insane obsession. I think Gyllenhaal should probably avoid roles like this as coupled which his recent faggot cowboy and disrespectful whiny Marine characters should find himself out of the Hollywood spotlight pretty quick.

Robert Downey Jr. naturally stole the show from Gyllenhaal as the opposite of Graysmith playing crime reporter Paul Avery as he drank like a fish and obviously smoked anything smoke-able (you wouldn't expect if from Downey at all eh? LOL). Downey (currently filming Iron Man - in case you didn't know) was the main reason I went to see this movie but while his performance was flawless it was hardly worth the price of admission as he wasn't in the latter half of the movie but for a brief few seconds. I will say that his dialogue especially in scenes with Gyllenhaal as well written:

Graysmith: Does anybody ever call me names?
Avery: You mean like 'retard'?
Graysmith: Yeah.
Avery: No.

Mark The Last Castle Ruffalo and Anthony ER Edwards (right) are great as a Starsky & Hutch-like police duo who investigate the Zodiac in San Fransisco. It's interesting to see that their investigative efforts are hampered by the general lack of existence of a protocol of co-operation between different police departments in the nearby SF Bay counties.

Brian Cox, magnificent as always, played Melvin Belli a famous lawyer who represented Jack Ruby as well as a host of celebrities (they even reference Belli's famous appearance in Star Trek at the time). Cox does a fantastic job and his addition to the film was most welcome.

The director David Fincher had previously directed the aforementioned Se7en (which I didn't like, but everyone else did) as well as the underrated The Game (which I liked but no one else did) and the excellent Fight Club (which we all liked) so my expectations of this film were high for a movie with an extraordinary climax which would become the stuff of movie legend for years to come but no, this ends with a whimper not a bang.

Final word: Started well, good supporting characters but it's much too long and it's not often I look at my watch waiting for an ending that I didn't even receive. I broke my own rule of seeing a non-military true story in the cinema and wasted time and money that could have been better spent. I vow never to make that mistake again.

Colonel Creedon Rating **


Anonymous said...

can I point out however Colonel that you still give it a higher rating than Spider Man 3 , does this mean that Spidey is the new level of Shite that you will judge all films against?

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

Well Zodiac was better at what it was supposed to be in comparison to Spider-Man 3.

While Zodiac may not have been all that good when compared to "slasher" films or Fincher's other work it still didn't let me down as much as Raimi did with the Spider-Man franchise.

That said I'd watch Spider-Man 3 again before I'd sit through All The Kings Men or Nacho Libre from last year so maybe the worst is yet to come.

For the record all shit is judged against Sphere and nothing, not even the contempt I hold for Batman & Robin can displace it from the bottom of the list. At least I was expecting Batman & Robin to be shit when they cast Ahnold instead of Paddy. But Sphere had Hoffman, Stone (when she was hot) and SAMUEL L. MUTHAFUCKING JACKSON, hell-shit it even had Huey Lewis so imagine what I was expecting? Just imagine!!!?????