Zodiac

Zodiac ★★★★½

Zodiac’s genius lies in its focus. It is a film about the Zodiac murders, but it is not a film about the Zodiac murders. Instead, thanks to a brilliant screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Fincher treats us to an excruciating 2 hours and 37 minutes (a runtime that really doesn’t feel as long as it is) exploring the uncontrollable obsessions of the three protagonists, their lives falling apart around them. Gyllenhaal delivers a perfectly unhinged performance as Robert Graysmith, whose book this film is based on, as he slowly deteriorates from a guy who “likes solving puzzles” to a rabid, desperate man, frantically chasing down every lead with no regard for the safety of his family. This transformation is tragically juxtaposed with the downfall of the reporter, Paul Avery, whose descent from an egotistical wise cracker to a reclusive alcoholic is truly disconcerting. There are two layers to the horror of Zodiac: the terrifyingly brutal murders in the background, and the slow deterioration of these men in the foreground.

Longer review up here as part of a joint effort sharing our favourite Fincher picks.