Cert: 15 Runtime: 157 mins Director: David Fincher Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Chloe Sevigny
I am not the Zodiac. And if I were, I certainly wouldn’t tell you
So this is the first time Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo ever assembled (Get it!) Zodiac is possibly one of my favorite thrillers of all time. It’s full of suspense and horror. But what is Zodiac? Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a cartoonist who works for the San Francisco Chronicle. His quirky ways irritate Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr) , a reporter whose drinking gets in the way of doing his job. The two become friends thanks to a shared interest: the Zodiac killer. Graysmith steadily becomes obsessed with the case, as Avery’s life spirals into drunken oblivion. Graysmith’s amateur sleuthing puts him onto the path of David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo), a police inspector who has thus far failed to catch his man.Graysmith’s job, his wife and his children all become unimportant next to the one thing that really matters: catching the Zodiac.The performances of Zodiac are easily one of its best features. Jake Gylenhaal is an actor that I’ve always found to be very talented, however it wasn’t until I saw him in this movie that I really came to appreciate just how very talented he is. His character is easily likable, and he goes through many changes throughout the movie. But his character and performance is still top notch.
Robert Downey Jr easily steals every single scene that he is in. His character is also very likable, but he also gets the very best lines of the movie. But the surprise performance here comes from Mark Ruffalo, who I have never really appreciated all that much. I really did think he should have won an Oscar for his performance. He is simply brilliant, had it not have been for Robert Downey Jr he would have ran away with the movie. Its Ruffalo’s later scenes that work the very best, and it makes his character very memorable. Brian Cox delivers a brilliant performance as a smaller character, and Chloë Sevigny delivers an honest and memorable performance as Melanie.The pacing of Zodiac, and running length, is going to be perhaps the biggest issue for a lot of people. Admiteddly my one fault for Zodiac is the fact that it does feel just that little bit too long. It never made me enjoy the movie less.The pacing of the movie also does not allow a lot of viewers to enjoy it as much as they might have done. The movie starts with a bang, and it continues to give a lot of big bangs for the next half hour. The trouble is, for the next hour and a bit it revolves entirely around the case, and not really the killings themselves. This is where a lot of people will get frustrated as this is where the movie requires patience. If you do have patience, and can sit and happily watch the cases and different suspects, then you will find Zodiac a complete masterpiece as I did, but if you get uptight over a lot of talking then you will get frustrated as my friend did.
The ending manages to bring in more morph to it, but by that stage I was already content with the movie.The atmosphere of Zodiac is possibly the biggest success of the movie. There are scenes that are executed with such skill and precision that you will sit there and your heart will thump like crazy. Any scene with a car in a deserted area is bound to terrify you. The opening sequence is initially creepy, later sequences, especially one in a basement, is really nail bitingly tense. The look and feel of the movie also makes the movie work to its full extent. It does feel like a period movie, and the score really gives it that extra feel as well.Overall Zodiac is a truly masterful piece of cinema, as I’ve said not everyone will get it, many I suspect will find it boring. But for those of you willing to give it a try, and willing to have patience with it, then you will be vastly rewarded. Its a movie that deserves to be seen multiple times, as you will never truly appreciate how good this movie is until you’ve seen it quite a few times.