Movie review: ‘Zodiac’

By Stacie Wieland

Grade: A- | In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, The Zodiac Killer struck fear into the hearts of many Californians and attracted national attention with his seemingly random killings and eagerness to publicly confess his crimes. However, through a combination of puzzling evidence, miscommunication and a lack of advanced technology, the case of the Zodiac remains unsolved.

Based on the book by Robert Graysmith, David Fincher’s new film presents the audience with an intricate, intimate-yet-objective look behind the scenes of the investigation.

Fans of Fincher, beware: If you’re expecting a hard-hitting, in-your-face film akin to “Fight Club” or “Se7en,” don’t see this movie. While certain aspects of his work remain the same, this film is a departure by way of presentation.

Where “Zodiac” is concerned, patience is most definitely a virtue. By focusing less on the murders themselves and more on the investigation and the people behind them, the audience is left to fend for themselves – and is put into a position that gives an opportunity to look at all the evidence and, essentially, play cop. By the end, it is the viewer that decides whether or not the authorities were looking in the right places or did their job well.

Some critics have rushed to praise the cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal for a significantly more “grown up” role and Mark Ruffalo for stepping away from the romantic comedy genre. However, they are putting the wrong elements of the film under the microscope. For those of us who weren’t alive or old enough to fully understand the situation, this film is able to successfully transport the viewer into the time period and show how the Zodiac Killer was able to not only elude authorities, but also create a sensation throughout the country, which is far more impressive than any singular performance.