Anyone expecting David Fincher's Zodiac to be another serial-killer thriller a la Seven is in for a big surprise. Running nearly three hours, this long (some will say too long), complex, dialogue-heavy movie is more of a police procedural than anything else - a densely detailed, scrupulously researched recreation of the decade-long hunt for the killer who preyed on San Francisco during the 1960s and 70s.
A dramatic departure for Fincher in both style and content (for one thing, a lot of the film takes place in broad daylight), Zodiac boasts superb work from an ensemble cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal as political cartoonist turned sleuth Robert Graysmith; Robert Downey Jr. as San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery; and Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards as a pair of police detectives investigating the crimes.
They're all terrific, each embodying the theme of obsession that forms the heart of James Vanderbilt's screenplay. And the movie itself, too, is a work of obsession, devoted almost entirely to chronicling the minutiae of the investigation. Channeling a distinct 1970s filmmaking vibe (think All the President's Men), Zodiac has absolutely nothing in common with what passes for Hollywood thrillers nowadays. It'll be interesting to see how mainstream audiences respond when it opens on March 2.
Wednesday Feb. 7