I’m a fan of most David Fincher films, from Se7en, Fight Club and the more recent The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and The Social Network. Zodiac however, just didn’t do it for me like the others did. I found the movie slow and boring even the first time I saw it before this time in class, and Robert Koehler’s shared a lot of points that helped me articulate why exactly I wasn’t as drawn to this film as I thought I’d be (being a huge fan of crime/killer flicks).
First was the Village Voice review by Nathan Lee. I was disappointed as well by the fact that I wasn’t given a more traditional film of its genre. Although I understand another point made by Koehler, that the mystery of not being provided omniscience makes the audience feel more involved and invested in the solving of the crime, I don’t think enough payoff was given for this to be done successfully. Though it was an interesting take on the traditional crime film, I think this wasn’t the perfect crime story for it. This made for a very slow, uneventful film in which the audience was just left as clueless as the investigators were, following them find nothing. The only action the audience was provided with were the murders and the initial appearances of the ciphers, but other than that nothing interesting seemed to happen. I would have personally preferred the slow, gradual revelations provided in more traditional crime films as opposed to how nothing seemed to ever be revealed in Zodiac. Considering if the film was meant to make you feel sympathetic towards the characters and their frustrations with solving the case, I don’t see how the audience would appreciate not being given any payoff for the effort we seem to have been compelled to invest as well.
Although I often find veering away from the usual interesting, I feel as though the film would have been better if it had just stuck to its genre. Other creative ways could have been utilized to add color to an already established genre without leaving the audience in the dark. I think the intention was worth giving a shot, but the outcome just wasn’t so great. I also didn’t like the idea of not having closure to the ending. As with any other crime flicks, the audience may feel involved and invest in the finding of the killer, but without the triumph of actually catching the killer and putting him away, it makes it seem like it was all for nothing. I feel that this is exactly what Zodiac offers, a deceiving journey that leaves you just as clueless and eager as the characters in the film were.
I don’t completely understand what about it I didn’t like, or why it didn’t work for me, but I can say that the experimentation Fincher did with the crime film genre on this one could have worked but sadly did not. The idea was there, it just wasn’t for Zodiac.