Such a tremendous loss, to his family first and foremost but also to film...
Another long 'un here, which I really liked, and for the most part stayed with mentally even as my (well padded might I add) bottom began to get upset!
Again, had no prior knowledge of the history of the Zodiac serial killer who struck throughout the 1970's in California, which certainly didn't do any harm and helped the material to feel extra fresh and shocking.
Reminders, also of the wild goose chase experienced by West Yorkshire Police at the hands of the Yorkshire Ripper (and to a significant extent, Wearside Jack) during the same time period, which also interested me.
Whilst providing a good, clear timeline of the twists and turns of the Zodiac case, the movie goes into greatest detail regarding the detrimental effects of investigation on three men, political cartoonist. Greysmith, Inspector Toschi and top Reporter, Avery, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr.
Slowly but surely, the case, even as it fumbles and crumbles around them, begins to consume them. Although, arguably. obsession is displayed most obviously in Graysmith's life, as his long suffering wife, Chloe Sevigny, leaves with his children, Toschi's part seems the most interesting to me as he takes on the persona of the killer, adopting his way of thinking and indeed style, in order to write letters posing as Zodiac, to keep the failing case alive. Both Ruffalo and Downey Jr give strong performances. Downey in particular is given the perfect platform to show off his talent for cynicism, world weariness and the slightly slimy. Would be interested to check out some more of his back catalogue, in particular, 'Kiss Kiss, Bang, Bang'.
Some nicely done, harrowing scenes of violence complimented effectively by the sickly yellow 70s colour palette in which the film is shot. The sequence with the young, picnicking couple by the lake lingers longest in the subconscious.
The latter part of the movie deals with what would happen if the killer were to be unearthed, with tense moments for Graysmith in the basement of a potential suspect's house and a near-confrontation in a hardware store with the nearest anyone came to the main man in question.
Although Arthur Leigh Allen (now dead and never charged) was identified in a mugshot by one of Zodiac's first targets, sufficient legal evidence was never compiled.
Not only does this delight the viewer with their own investigative questions, it also creates an almost supernatural element to Zodiac as a soulless, phantom-like assassin, perhaps the ultimate bogeyman.
Fincher should be commended for another competent and involving look at the dark and twisted and the merge between the professional and the obsessional.
A sort of typical, but yet fresh Amercian Indie take on the struggles of working class inner-city dwellers, delivered mostly from the points of view of a morose but inspired white school teacher, portrayed by the cooler-than-ice, Ryan Gosling and an equally troubled yet bright and thoughtful thirteen year old black girl.
The film itself juggles familiar issues of race, class, drug abuse, isolation and to a slight degree, infatuation but without ever feeling like a lecture in Sociology/Psychology or slipping into cliches.
Gosling deals with the role of an enthusiastic teacher or 'coach' with beautiful understatement, depth and realism. He cares for the children deeply yet finds himself depending upon them to define his existence and hold him together in the midst of a growing Cocaine addiction - there are some shocking scenes of unprofessionalism from a man struggling, increasingly in vain, with his flaws and demons. Yet a wealth of responses are drawn from the viewer, disgust and anger at the carelessness he displays by allowing one of his pupils to discover him in various drug addled stupors, yet heartbreak at witnessing his guilt, shame, and most horribly, resignation.
In the hands of another director, perhaps the revelation that pupil and teacher unwittingly mix in the same unfortunate social circles, would seem contrived, but here it only serves to underline the sense of hopelessness, irony and hypocrisy, as both teacher and family 'friend' lead the young Drey into dangerous and corruptive environments.
Yet, hope is encouraged, as motives are exposed and made clear, in an ending left open to the interpretation of the viewer. Despite the clumsy and messy relationships and decisions explored by this film, confidence lies in the ever-maturing mind and heart of thirteen year old Drey, brilliantly portrayed by Shareeka Eps.
20. Half Nelson
19. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
17. A Mighty Heart
16. The Darjeeling Limited
14. Knocked Up
12. 2 Days In
9. Death Proof
8. The Bourne Ultimatum
5. The Lives of Others
4. Paris Je t’aime
3. Away from her
2. La Vie En Rose