Zodiac ★★★★★

Soothing voices here. Not Gyllenhaal’s whose “touched” Eagle Scout speaks exactly like one (great nerd). But there’s Brian Cox who plays some kind of doctor who can’t quite mesmerize the supposed killer on the phone. Well, Doctor, pull me off a cliff, it would have worked on me. He’s doing voice work for McDonald’s now and he’s great at it. OK he might not convince me to buy a sausage egg McMuffin, but I might kill for that voice. He has the weirding way. Robert Downey Jr brings everything you want from him pre-Iron Man. Now too. His self-destructive Paul Avery all dangling cigarettes and drinks. Yeah they dangle. There’s just a welcome ring to all of Avery’s cutting remarks and reactions. RDJ perfect.

But it’s Mark Ruffalo’s cop, Inspector David Toschi, whose voice does it for me. “Let me see your watch” and several mad jabs at Graysmith throughout the film follow a super soft tone that melts ice-cream. Just sayin’. His utterance of “jesus christ” to the cartoonist/cartoonish Graysmith after a mind-bending revelation is tinny, maybe even coming from no deeper than his tonsils, another perfect reading in this movie. I felt like I heard similar in Hemingway’s war vet Nick turned outdoorsman on the “Big Two-Hearted River, Part I” who’s finally eating the beans that he’s waited all day to taste, and says it with his mouth full. “‘Geezus Chrise.’” It’s tough to beat that one but Ruffalo comes close. Epiphanic reading. Any other movie cops like him? Wish he was more like this as David Banner.

Wonderful true-crime film, full of all the conflicting evidence that disallows the easy finger. Bad assertions aplenty. But then that scene when the three cops lightly question Arthur Leigh Allen at work. It’s amazing, gets your hopes up up and away as a series of details emerge, sparking some of the best reaction shots ever put to film. And there’s another soft-voiced cop played by (answered it!) Elias Koteas (love him here, never before). Then the movie just drops this suspect for a long stretch. It’s anti-climax city. It's no Seven. All of the actions are told rather than shown in the films final info dump—well, there is a hand-drawn map. Other threads are followed after Allen’s interview, including the effects on Graysmith’s family life and some red herrings. I think this is where attention spans go crazy for some. But since this is a true story, we don’t get the requisite ending wherein all mystery is Destroyed, or that now it’s safe for kids to make out in cars again. The truth is weirder, more unsettling. Less satisfying. Sometimes it’s just stupid. That’s life!

Block or Report

John liked these reviews