I saw Zodiac last night, but cannot say too much as it comes out tomorrow. I liked it, and given my position on serial killer films that may say something. With a couple of exceptions, I hate films that sensationalise or glamorise serial killers. Oddly, these films usually focus in on the horror and the grotesque, rather than the actual element of crime. Zodiac is a straight up and well done crime film in so many ways.
The violence of the film is straight up and visceral. The murders are not pornographic, not put up on screen in a sensational matter. The Zodiac's victims die painfully and horribly. (or survive to live with a terrible memory) I am a big believer in an honest portrayal of violence and the film offers it up: no frills, no thrills and it made me squirm the way such a horrific act should.
David Fincher's film is based on the books Robert Graysmith wrote about the investigation of the Zodiac Killer. The film has Jake Gyllenhaal playing Graysmith) Fincher deserves high praise for this one. He avoids the nostalgia and kitsch elements that so many period pieces seem to suffer from these days. Perhaps the late 60's and `70's are so stylistically distinctive and brash that it is hard to avoid slipping into kitsch, but Fincher deftly navigates the period. Zodiac often doesn't just feel like a period piece, it actually feels like the period.
Peter Chattaway stated it may be the first truly great film of the year and he may be right. (though I still really like Breach from earlier this year) Mark Ruffalo is great as Detective Dave Toschi and I epect to see a continuation of great things from him in the future.