|Fincher by the bay|
by Samantha Maciag
Walking into the theatre for Jake Gyllenhaal's new movie, Zodiac, I was expecting a horror/suspense kind of flick. The previews led me to believe we were going to see a suspenseful slasher movie, complete with blood, gore, and creepy phone calls. What I was not expecting was a whole lot of comic relief. The plot of Zodiac follows the real-life story of the events and people surrounding the search for the Zodiac killer in the late 1960s and early 1970s in four different jurisdictions of California. Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a former boy scout, now cartoonist for a San Fransisco news- paper, who takes a special interest in the ciphers that the killer uses to allude the police before and after each murder. Graysmith befriends an unlike- ly man in the office, reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr). Avery is by far the comic relief and saving grace of Zodiac - the quotes and one-liners from this man had me laughing so often that I actu- ally leaned over to my friend and asked, "Is it wrong for me to be laughing during the movie? Because it feels so wrong." The movie also features two prominent police officers, Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Inspector William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards). Together these officers follow lead after lead, but come up with nothing concrete. After the case runs cold, careers have been dragged through the mud and Avery ends up with a severe alcohol and drug addiction, Graysmith decides to write a book about it. He takes it upon himself to re-examine evidence and, becoming obsessed with the case, finds clues that lead to a major breakthrough, years after many officials had given up. Zodiac is not bloody - there were no goose- bumps on my arms or hairs raised on the back of my neck. However, the fact that the story is so well told through these characters makes the movie totally engaging. Though I knew going in that it was two hours and 40 minutes in length, it did not feel like I sat there for long. I did, however realize three things while I was in Zodiac that I think are worthy of sharing: 1. When you are told that there are 97 tickets left out of 300 seats in the theatre and that you should have no trouble finding a seat that is not in the front row, you are being lied to. 2. The arms in between the seats in the front row of the movie theatre lift up, making a comfy seat for two, if you so wish. True story. 3. Gyllenhaal likes to make long movies that lack strong endings. Think about it for a second. Brokeback Mountain could have been at least an hour shorter had they cut out the scenes about rounding up sheep or staring off into the wilder- ness. Jarhead is about preparation for war, but not going to war. Zodiac is kind of the same - from reading the news you would know the killer was never caught. Sad, isn't it? If you're into current events and true crime, I think you'll enjoy Zodiac. If you aren't, wait for a DVD release.