Monday, June 4, 2007

"ZODIAC"

Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Edwards, John Carroll Lynch, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, Chloe Sevigny

"There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer"

Cinema 6, SM Megamall


This film is based on actual case files about a serial killer named "Zodiac" with references from the books written by Robert Graysmith. The San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal who got obsessed by the case. David Fincher who also pegged "Se7en", "Panic Room" and "Fight Club" uses a now familiar visual technique prominent in most of his films. Dim, grainy images, a few jarring hand held effects to depict the era/setting of the film. "Zodiac" starts from the late 60s and spans 4 decades. To give the film a more documentary feel, the time frame was shown on screen to indicate the evolution of the case. But it distracted me because I kept trying to figure out "8 weeks later from which month?". Well I was never good in math, anyway!

The ensemble cast of mostly good actors essayed their well developed characters efficiently. Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Robert Downey Jr and even Elias Koteas all sported the 70s look complete with wavy hair, bushy sideburns, bell bottoms and tight suits. But how come Jake Gyllenhaal still looked the same throughout the movie? OK granted that he portrays the author of the books upon which the film is based so he had a more lengthy role but it would be fair to say he actually had just one expression on his ruggedly pleasant face throughout the movie.

Of course how else can you expose the evil machinations of a serial killer without resorting to violent scenes? The violence was rather graphic in some shots and merely implied in other scenes so it wasn't too disturbing to watch. .It makes you wish that DNA profiling was available back then so that the killer would have been caught right away. Yet the very fact that technology wasn't up to par back then makes the "Zodiac" case and the film for that matter so engrossing to follow. Fincher presented factual information and thankfully didn't sugarcoat it with any embellishments to give it some dramatic effect for Hollywood sake.

Yes, the film is long but it was cleverly edited in such a way that every scene was vital for the audience to get a better grip on the case. It had the right mix of gripping suspense, tinges of violence, good repartee among the actors and a coherently solid plot to sustain your attention.

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