As a growing child, my parents exposed me to a lot of board games — there was the traditional Monopoly, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and a lot more. Cluedo, however, was a game that I only got to play during the times we pay a visit to my cousin’s house. Although I absolutely love this game, I always got so frustrated because my lack of practice led to my lack of wins as well. I got engrossed in the object of the game: find the killer and solve the case.
Watching Zodiac, which happens to be the best film I’ve viewed over this semester, catapulted me back to my childhood and all the emotions that went with me during those days. As my title suggests, it felt as if I were in a “pseudo Cluedo” world. And along with my frustration to win the game, was the same amount of frustration to find out the serial killer responsible for all the unsolved Zodiac cases.
At first I thought the movie was about cosmic and supernatural phenomena and it surprised me a bit to find out right at the beginning of the movie that it was a detective crime story. I am an avid fan of movies which follow more or less the same genre as Zodiac, such as the John Cusack movie: Identity (2003). Identity did not touch on a true story and instead ran along the lines of a fictional serial killing spree in some unknown motel, but the same emotions ran through me while watching both films. It’s funny how Zodiac, which isn’t exactly as scary as Identity, rattled me in so many ways. I guess the feeling of wanting to “help out” the characters in the movie always get to me. I am so easily moved with wanting to become part of solving the case and unraveling the mystery behind it. It is odd that I am accustomed to favoring these kinds of films given that I am such a scaredy-cat but there is something compelling about untangling knots in someone else’s story.
While I was watching Zodiac, I can not seem to detach myself from feeling the same amount of pain I felt a few years back. In 2001, our house was intruded by a robber and through his violent hits, left my grandmother nearly bleeding to death. The police never got to arrest the one who destroyed our life because of their “lack of evidence”, but we were sure that it was the driver of our next door neighbor. For years, until now actually, I live a life with a tinge of fear and an insane thirst for justice — but through Zodiac, I was able to somehow find comfort in knowing that it isn’t only in the Philippines where the justice system is screwed up. It is not that I am grateful that the families of this victims are, in a way, suffering together with my family but it is the amount of peace I felt that there really are things that are beyond our control.
The gripping story of Zodiac kept me on my toes for the entirety of the viewing. The length of it did not bother me at all because maybe, the peril that my family has carried stretched out as long as the film portrayed. Considering that the film was based on a true story, the casting did a great job with their roles. It really seemed like the audience was transported back to old San Francisco–feeling all the emotions that came with the grueling process each of the characters (both good and evil) went through. I never knew that solving cases would be that hard, and I applaud Zodiac for re-telling such stories in such a realistic way that speaks out for all the victims of crime all around the world.
Zodiac is now, and will forever be one of my favorite movies because of the honesty it sent out to me. If there is such thing as a movie literally speaking to its audience, I definitely heard the voice of Zodiac speak to me and remind me that I am not alone.