ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Zodiac (2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David Fincher

Starring:
Jake Gyllenhaal/Robert
Mark Ruffalo/Inspector Toschi
Anthony Edwards/Inspector Armstrong
Robert Downey Jr./Paul
PLOT-CRUNCH
The 70’s. Never nabbed serial killer that calls himself The Zodiac casts a shadow of terror over the quaint town of San Francisco. We follow the man’s killing spree over the years and how it affected the Media, the police force and the citizens.
THE LOWDOWN

There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer

I know, I'm mucho late on reviewing this one, but better late than never I guess! Now, when I was a young Arrow; my dad owned Robert Graysmiths book The Zodiac; same book that this film was based on. I remember flipping through it; while my dad was conversing with a plant in a drunken stupor; and finding the tale of a pathetic, attention seeking mook killing peeps while dropping symbols and ciphers to the press quite fascinating. Sadly my dad caught me snooping around his room i.e. the bar and gave me the belt (f8cker); and I never got to finish that damn book. Now I don’t have to.

Director extraordinaire David Fincher ruined me with his brilliant and gothic stylish serial killer opus SEVEN. And although ZODIAC didn’t carry the impact that the aforementioned film had on me; it still delivered in its own way. If I had to point out ZODIAC’s main strength was that it sucked me into its world at frame 1 and rarely let up for the bulk of its running time. It served up a mucho engaging situation cut into 3 plot lines. The Zodiac’s killing spree, the Press’ processing of the events and the cop’s moves in regards to it. All three plotlines flew at a furious pace, becoming more and more engrossing as the clock ticked forward. I actually felt like I was part the investigating team as I caught myself processing/evaluating the many clues/suspects alongside the main characters in this flick. That means one of two things; either I need a new life real bad, or the flick did a marvelous job at involving me and keeping me within its grasp via its approach to the material. I opt for #2 but #1 probably plays in there too. Your call!

Now many have complained that ZODIAC was too visually restrained, specially when compared to Fincher’s past work. Personally; I actually grooved to this one's look. The film’s downplay on style and up on serving the story made it all feel more real hence unsettling to me. Furthermore, Fincher’s attention to detail here as to be mucho commended. I mean the flick was set in the 70’s and I swear on Ron Jeremy’s dong; I fully bought it. Shit, I even tough that it was shot in the 70’s at times but that was probably the booze talking and me listening. Silly me. Add to all that an incredibly competent cast (how Mark Ruffalo wings being THAT COOL in every film eludes me), a griping soundtrack that perfectly echoed the times this tale was set in, some groovy anecdotes I didn't know about (like how the film DIRTY HARRY was loosely based on Zodiac's killing spree)  and some genuinely visceral moments of unflinching violence (that Zodiac dude didn’t f*ck around) and you get an all around solid offering.

On the slim downside; I didn’t care for the film’s knack of dropping lead characters for long periods of time to then revisit them down the road. Furthermore I either wanted more meat on the Graysmiths relationship with that rake on two legs (played by Chloë Sevigny) or have the whole subplot omitted. As is, it didn’t cut it for me. Too flimsy for me to truly care. Finally; the last block did lose steam compared to what preceded it but then again; I presume that’s how the real life story went down; so ho the f*ck am I to complain?

All in all, ZODIAC was what Hollywood filmmaking should be all about. Strong writing, stellar acting, an hypnotizing pace and much talent in front and behind the camera. It didn't really find its audience on the big screen, and personally, it took me two viewings to fully appreciate it. But hey, not all films are easy tramps, some you have to double down on effort to fully appreciate. Make ZODIAC your bitch today!
GORE
The film wasn’t really graphic or gory but it did back-hand some pretty harsh moments of brutally my way that made me wince like a lesbian nurse getting a rectal exam.
ACTING
Jake Gyllenhaal (Robert) held his own as the kind yet obsessive doodler. Mark Ruffalo (Inspector Toschi) owned the screen with his honest and passionate performance. Anthony Edwards (Inspector Armstrong) always Aces these staright man roles while Robert Downey Jr. (Paul) kicked butt once again as an a-hole eccentric we love to love to hate and love. Chloë Sevigny (Melanie) did what she could with what sher was given - not much.
T & A
Hmm…wow…I don’t remember…so I guess no! Actually…I’ll plead the fifth on this one! See ya in court!
DIRECTING
Fincher held back here compared to his past work but that was good news to me; the story was so strong that it didn’t need much visual coating. The fast pace, overall energy and the tight cutting were all I needed to have this bullet shot into my cranium and hit the bulls-eye.
SOUNDTRACK
We get some fitting tunes as to the times the flick was set in and a bleak score.
BOTTOM LINE
Look I’ll be honest; I skipped this one in the theatres cause at the time; my mental state couldn’t handle sitting in a f*cking crowded room for 2 hours and a half. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that bypassed it cause of that. Now that I’ve seen it on DVD though; I regret not supporting it on the big screen. ZODIAC was a rock solid flick on pretty much every level. Sure I had a few beefs with it but on the whole tight and powerful were the two words that popped in my kiwi as the end credits rolled. If you missed it in the theatres I highly recommend you stab its guts out on the small screen. Damn worth it and then some!
BULL'S EYE
Screenwriter Shane Salerno optioned Robert Graysmith book "Zodiac" when he was nineteen years old. He then developed the script with Graysmith for years before selling it to Disney's Touchstone Pictures.

Cutie actress Ione Skye has an uncredited cameo in the movie.

The real Dave Toschiwas the inspiration for Steve McQueen's role in 1968' Bullitt.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL ZODIAC SITE HERE

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