Friday, February 5, 2010
This...is the ZODIAC speaking...
Where to begin. Watched it once - good film - enjoyed it...but, like Chinatown and French Connection, it had an insidious effect...just a gentle hankering to watch it again...
..and by viewing 22 I realized I might have an obsession developing...it is a compelling story and a very true story...and I wanted to know more. No, I had to know more.
Read Robert Graysmith's book then his other book then every piece of material I could find...but it all comes back to David Fincher's Zodiac...what I consider to be one of the best American films ever made.
Jake Gyllenhall and Mark Ruffalo are great and great together.. as are the wide and varied supporting cast(led by Robert Downey jr.)... character acting that evokes thoughts of films like All the President's Men or Glengarry Glen Ross - intense and committed. Everyone looks and feels "period".
Now thanks to some of the more famous lazy directors, CG and greenscreens have become embarrassingly overused, but it's the invisible stuff I love...watch the extras to learn that 1/2 the film is trickery...brilliant - If I can't tell there's CG - it's good GC...and they do manage to stylishly re-create old San Francisco like we're dreaming about it.
The film is as much about the nature of obsession as it is about the killer...perhaps moreso. It is a drama, a thriller and a period piece that will leave you with questions despite it's "answers" and the 2 audio tracks are as good as the movie...so much information on the case and so much on making the film...
Visually, this'd be a good watch on mute - it is gorgeous...but I do believe that only a nostalgic love can generate such a singular, consistent vision of the landscape one grew up in - and that makes this a love letter to a different time - Fincher's love letter to bygone California...and, though elements of this story are icy cold, you can feel the warmth of a boy's memories throughout.
The soundtrack is perfection in its balance between the creepy and the oddly personal...and does become haunting...as haunting as the interviews with the real players from the period(double disc extras) who, again, answer some questions..but inspire even more. There may be a killer interviewed on this disc.
This, along with Seven, could be the alpha and omega of modern serial killer films from the action of one versus the effect of another...with only Silence of the Lambs as a potential challenger. If I had to guess, I'd say Hitchcock would've been interested in any of these 3 scripts.
And then there's that oh-so-smart tagline:
"There's more than one way a serial killer can take your life..." ..he's claimed plenty of mine, as has David Fincher, but I'm not complaining.