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Zodiac is round two for the Based on True Crime triple. This star filled movie tells the gritty tail of the Zodiac murder spree from the late 60’s & 70’s. Obsession over the case led to the breakdown of many good men.
While the movie does take some liberties with the story, it truly draws you in. It seems like the director David Fincher called in anyone who had ever been in a cop show. However the writing and directing combined with their acting make you stop looking at the movie as a who’s who. From the start Fincher draws us into this thriller.
Fincher is a master story teller in a way that is different that Hitchock. Fincher shows us several of the Zodiac’s crimes. He goes into great detail to show the locations they actually happened and capture the power of the crimes. He even uses different actors to portray Zodiac. That way we as viewers can’t hear and identify the voice. We slowly get to see the killer develop his personal. The then begins to toy with the public. He sends letters to the police and the papers with demands and ciphers.
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey, Jr.) and cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) both get drawn into to things. They are each seeking out answers in their own ways and each becomes obsessed with catching Zodiac. But their obsessions are different. Paul’s causes him to buck authority (at the paper and the police). He turns to drugs and alcohol to quiet the obsession. Robert loves to solve puzzles and will never give up. He risks his safety and his family relationships to follow the clues. It leads to him writing a book.
Working hand in hand with the paper were the police. William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards) pursued the case but his partner David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) got the obsession. He was so obsessed with Zodiac and his favorite suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen (John Carroll Lynch), that he was even accused of forging a Zodiac letter to bring it back to the public. Because Zodiac killed over a large area many police departments were involved, but due to lack of communication and boundaries no one had the full story or all the clues. It showed a big issue with law enforcement at the time that still happens today. It took Robert’s obsession and follow up with Paul, David and others to lead to breaks in the case.
Through the whole movie we follow the clues. We run down the rabbit trails and get drawn into the story. We are left spinning and wondering about the real identity of the killer just like the characters in the movie. Even to the end when we read the closing details of the case.
Fincher did a masterful job with translating the book to film. He puts his own spin on things and makes us as obsessed as the people in the story. I (Geoff) can attest to this. I took 13 pages of notes on the film and was pausing to write many times. So it too me longer that two hours and 47 min. to finish the film. I don’t think I looked at the clock once, because I was so engrossed. I highly recommend you watch this movie (if you have not already). I’m so glad Cory and Darrell decided to include this one in the triple.
One iconic song from the soundtrack was Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man:
The composer for the film was David Shire. You can find the score here.
Name That Movie:
The clue this week was: We left off with Donnie Darko. The movie co-stared Drew Barrymore, Drew also starred in this Adam Sandler comedy set in Hawaii.
Which lead us to the following movie: The movie was 50 First Dates.
Next Week: The Based On True Crime triple finishes next week with The Strangers.
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