Thursday, March 01, 2007

Zodiac

CD in Play: Isis, In the Absence of Truth. Pelican, Pelican EP.

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.

4 Comments:

Blogger Thoth Harris said...

I love David Fincher's films. The coverage CNN has been giving this film, along with clips and coverage of the original case and the sole surivor's interview about his experiences pique my interest.

I myself must confess I enjoy a number of the serial killer films out there. I actually enjoy the 50s and 60s kitsch you mention, Magnus; such kitsch can be found in the Coen brothers' films, among others. You positive review makes me want to see Zodiac even more.

Unfortunately, this being Taiwan, it probably won't be showing here until a year from now. It seems to take that long for the movies to finally get here. I thought Quebec was bad for such delays.

02 March, 2007 18:47  
Blogger Magnus said...

It was refreshing, though, to have a film look like the seventies but not dwell on the fact. The hair, clothes, sideburns, decour are just part of the background. Fincher never lets the styles detract focus from the main story, which some directors do.

04 March, 2007 14:41  
Blogger Thoth Harris said...

It's also interesting that at least half of his films take place in San Francisco. Seven was set in San Francisco and even some of Fight Club is set there.


Hitchcock also liked to feature that city in his films, i.e. Vertigo, The Birds, and Marnie.

04 March, 2007 20:24  
Blogger Magnus said...

Having been to SF twice in my life - once in 1976 with my parents for the American bicentennial and again in 1987 with my Dad for the All-Star game. (baseball) - I have seen why film makers have used the city. Try and picture the car chase from Bullit taking place in any other city.

04 March, 2007 20:40  

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