Spielberg can do it. Tarantino can do it. Polanski can do it. The Coen brothers can do it. These filmmakers are capable of intriguing, captivating, disturbing, and sometimes amusing cinema-goers through one skill: dialogue. And David Fincher has proved a worthy addition to that list.
This creepily dark thriller followers Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), a cartoonist for the local paper. Graysmith goes on the painstaking journey of hunting down a notorious serial killer who calls himself the ‘Zodiac’, after the newspaper receives encrypted letters written from the man himself, which describe his murders to every detail. He inevitably becomes obsessed with the case, and this movie follows his campaign to track down the murderer, and he ends up fighting a battle, not only with the Zodiac killer, but with his own precarious sanity.
‘Man, do I regret Bubble Boy.’
This movie is, simply put, a foreseeable classic. David Fincher’s fantastically dark style, blends perfectly with the frantic performance of Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead character. Zodiac is also impeccably scripted. Each line of dialogue is as seamless as the last, and the actors gel together perfectly; Gyllenhaal as the frenzied protagonist, Downey Jr. as his irreverent accomplice, and Ruffalo as the (mostly) calm and collected detective.
David Fincher and his writing colleagues, (most notably Andrew Kevin Walker for Seven and Jim Uhls for Fight Club), have been lauded for their ability to cause anxiety in the guts of all cinema-goers, purely from the intelligence and style of the script. And Fincher’s sixth directorial effort is sure to rival the likes of Tarantino and Boyle in characteristic style.
No character in this film is insignificant or unimportant, and every actor that portrays them are in top-form. Downey Jr. displays his usual quirky mannerisms, and the performances from Gyllenhall and Ruffalo are Oscar-worthy.
It may be hard to decide which Fincher film is the best, due to the plethora of masterpieces he has created, but Zodiac is deservedly at the top of the list. Brilliant performances, flawless script and tense, dark, yet stylish direction help shape this movie into an exercise of mental fatigue. Oh, and Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man, as the movie’s leading soundtrack, has never sounded so good.
Take a Drink: whenever Toschi (Ruffalo) requests animal crackers
Take a Drink: for every encrypted letter sent by the Zodiac killer
Do a Shot: when Downey Jr. starts hitting the Aqua Velvas