I’m usually one to snore through detective, crime films because I think they’re absolutely boring. But when you give me a serial killer who professes he’s a serial killer, and seeks for the press to publicize his murders– then, you give me a film that I’m bound to stay awake through and I’m bound to stay on the edge of my seat of.
In Zodiac, Robert (Jake Gyllenhaal) , a cartoonist, works at a newspaper, the Chronicle. where they receive a letter from a killer asking them to publish his murders. Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) head of crime stories befriends Robert, and both proceed to figure out the sent codes and letters from the murderer, seeing as Robert, not only once a boy scout, knows how to decipher code. Dave (Mark Ruffalo), a detective, pieces together evidence from the crime scenes and handwriting of the letters until he comes to a suspect that Robert at the end, verifies through his own research.
The characters eventually get even closer by necessarily working on the same case, and having the same goal, even though they all become targets of the nameless murder for being intently involved. What I like about the film, besides Robert Downey Jr.’s humor that never fails to impress me, is the character of Jake Gyllenhaal and the way he is undermined in the beginning. But once the innocent cartoonist, he becomes the man who finally solves the twenty year case. This film is the weaker man’s story. The main character is the anti- hero. The follower- turned- leader, the undermined- turned- overtaker.
Despite being around two and a half hours long, it didn’t feel that way. The search for the murderer and the way the scenes were connected and put in order kept me wondering on who he really was. Zodiac perfectly gives a crime case solved by endless and mind- boggling hints and clues.
The one thing I think that could have been improved though was the feel of the setting. I wouldn’t have none it was set or based in the 1960’s unless the subtitles told me. And I felt that the distance of the years throughout the film were too spread apart for the audience to understand how long the case had been going on. At times it didn’t even seem as if the case was already over twenty years ongoing. And at times, things seemed to happen too fast, such as Robert’s marriage to a girl he had been dating, who we only see in one scene before they’re seen married and with kids.
Nonetheless, the film still keeps the audience’s attention and interest, and being based on a true story, I think it captured the essence of how a real serial case would be. It came across real life, honest, and believable. In my opinion, one of the best adaptations of a true story, not over- the- top or exaggerated or horror- like. The film had the right amount of suspense and the right amount of “facts” to make it seem like reality. Zodiac not only gives predictions and signs (a perfect name in my opinion for the serial killer seeing as he gives signs and symbols pre- murder) but on-the-edge, what’s-going-to-happen-next, I-want-to-solve-it-myself enjoyment and satisfaction for the viewer.