Saturday, August 18, 2007

DVD Review: "Zodiac"

What It's About: The Zodiac killer who terrorized San Francisco from the late 60s to the mid 70s.

What I was Expecting: I like David Fincher a lot as a director. On a blog posted on another site, I predicted that "Zodiac" would be a strong contender at the 2006 Oscars, but due to delays, the film failed to qualify for last year's awards. So, I guess you could say my expectations were a little high.

What I Got: Everything that I was hoping "Zodiac" would be. It's a slow-burning, creepy, highly effective thriller filled with a terrific cast. I missed it on its initial release due to my own personal post-Oscar burnout and I'm sorry I did. I imagine on the big screen that what was merely creepy on the small screen was downright terrifying. What I don't understand is the general reception to the film. Was it the lack of a shoot out ending or true resolution? Was it how it started off as a "Silence of the Lambs"-esque thriller and fades into something more less defined? That was a complement, by the way. The film plays out much like the real-life investigation of the murders. Tight with an attention to detail at first. Slow and unfocused as the details become more obscure. I believe this was entirely intentional. What the audience is made to feel towards the movie ("are they going to find out who did it or not?") is exactly what the characters thought and felt. How else can you do a film about a killer who was never caught?

Grade: A-

Five Random Thoughts:
1. The film is so filled with character actors who don't look like their normal selves, you'll find yourself often distracted and rewinding going, "wait! I know that guy."
2. It took watching the reading of the first Zodiac letter 3 times before I realized it was John Terry from 'Lost.'
3. Charles Fleischer is in this movie. The voice of Roger Rabbit. I boo him because he picked on me for a good 10 minutes at a comedy club one night. Boo!
4. So much for Roger Ebert's economy of characters. The rule is: Any recognizable actor must be important to the plot or else it would be a no name actor. Not true in this film. I kept expecting Ione Skye of "Say Anything" fame to turn back up after her one, albeit important, scene, but she never does.
5. Mark Ruffalo should be added to my list of actors who will win an Oscar soon.

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