Zodiac (2007) David Fincher

Production Budget: $65 million
Worldwide Gross: $84 million

I don’t know why, but writing this review was so hard to do.  I’m not even sure you could call it writers block because if you were to come up to me I would probably talk your ear off.  But to actually put it all down on paper and organize it was so hard.  Production wise, there is not a whole lot to really say.  Originally Fincher wanted to do Ellroy’s Black Dahlia book but it was given to DePalma when Fincher wanted to do a 5 hour miniseries with it.  Instead, Fincher picked the Zodiac killer since it was a more personal story and he remembered growing up with all the buzz in the city he grew up.  He actually did his own research for the movie by interviewing old witnesses and having two of the Zodiac victims be consultants on the movie.  Fincher was thought of as a perfectionist director and Gyllenhaal was upset that he would have to do upwards of 70 to he sometimes says 90 takes of a scene.   Zodiac was a flop and Fincher (and I actually agree) blames the failure on audiences expecting a Saw or a Se7en slasher flick and being the most vocal trolls of the movie.  Zodiac did receive great critical praise and has done better on DVD sales.

Is it any good?  Yeah I really like this movie.  What I like is that even though its called a thriller, it is not just a thriller.  This is a thriller, a true crime story and a character study.  And I think a movie is really great when it can transcend the normal genre conventions.  This movie can appeal to a lot of people depending on what they want.  As a crime story, you can tell that Fincher is very passionate and has done his homework on the subject.  We get pulled into the minutiae of the case and we are just as interested trying to reconstruct who the Zodiac is.  As a thriller it is very atmospheric.  The scenes where the Zodiac is stalking his victims is very creepy and scary.  There is also a scene near the end with Gyllenhaal that is one of the scarier moments in a few years.  The part I probably like the most is the character study portion.  We get a look at people where curiosity consumes and almost destroys their lives.  Even the tagline on the poster is “There’s more than one way to lose your life to a killer”.  Its natural to be curious and to wonder about some of these unsolvable mysteries like Zodiac and Black Dahlia.  But there is a point as with anything where it becomes unhealthy and you have to ask “When will it be over?  Why do you have to know?”  Also to put things in perspective.  How many murders occur in a year and how many people die in other countries around the world?  Why do we devote so much attention and anguish to a person like the Zodiac?

Zodiac is a long movie.  Zodiac is a very long movie.  So this is not a movie I will watch often.  However there are a lot of elements and they are all perfectly executed which should bring people to watch it.  This will cramp your ass, but it is worth it.  Zodiac is a great movie.

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