This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Asjad’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
So you've seen the score I've given this.
"Asjad you blasphemous dog! how dare you" you are thinking right now.
Before you rush to fill my comments with stuff like "L", take the time to read this first and present any counter arguments that you may have in your defence. There are many problems I have with this so I'll go over them one by one.
Let's start off with the pacing. God is this movie just too fucking long and slow. While admittedly, I was more engaged and interested towards the final act (Which the ending ruined), the first 2 were a chore to get through. It seemed like there were meant to be 3 main characters but Graysmith was handed most of the screen time. Avery was barely in it and just faded out in the 3rd act. He should've just been cut out with the little influence he had on the plot.
I see people saying that this isn't supposed to be a thrilling mystery and more of a character study. Ok and why focus more on the mystery? As far as I'm concerned, the characters weren't really that fleshed out and we hardly see any of the impact that their obsessions have on their family life. There could've been interesting moments i particularly Graysmith's relationship with his wife but that's subjected to the background and we are rarely exposed to it. Paul Avery and Dave Toschi are just not that interesting.
I also struggle to interpret what Fincher was trying to get across with this film because it's all a muddled mess. The common argument is the obsessions of these characters but Fincher plays it safe and never really shows the effects that much. Yes Graysmith loses his job and family but that's all briefly displayed rather than fully examined. Also there is the emphasis on "Obsession" but why put attention on the killer? If the whole film was just about how someone lost his life to an unsolved mystery why the need for that ending?
Now this movie isn't all bad:
It actually got engaging in the 3rd act when the film decides to solely focus on Graysmith. That's when it actually turned into an interesting mystery and i was much more invested watching Graysmith desperately trying to solve it.
I also really liked Jake Gyllenhall's performance as this seemingly eager but turned obsessed cartoonist that can't be satisfied without an answer was great which is expected of him at this point. However, Robert Downey Jr was just being himself and Mark Ruffalo wasn't all that.
A lot of people's reasons for the dull plot is the fact that it's based on a true story. Ok and? The social network is less than 50% accurate. Creative liberties were taken in that film to make it a more engaging experience for the audience. Could've done the same here.
The scene where Graysmith goes to the hardware store and looks Lee in the eyes and walks off could've made a fantastic ending. Was it him or was it not? But then noooo we need another scene where a guy identifies Lee as the killer and tarnishes the ambiguity.
Overall, this was a cold and lifeless film that had me disinterested 2/3 of the runtime. Watch Memories of murder instead.