Spoilers are the least dangerous animals of them all.
Okey, you guessed it. I’m going for a David Fincher retrospective. Contrary to logic, I don’t do these in chronological order. I just think random is a little more fun. For this time, I’m going through a film I just saw for the first time about a year ago. True crime narratives can be addicting, specially when the crimes not only became infamously known but the actual perpetrator was never caught. Now, I’m aware that recent alleged evidence did point towards a name, but officially it was debunked and the case remains open. This particular account points to someone else, but it’s the narrative that we’re going for here.
Zodiac (2007) is directed by David Fincher based on the screenplay by James Vanderbilt and based on the book by Robert Graysmith. The movie is the account of the events surrounding the murders in the San Francisco Bay area. The San Francisco Chronicle starts receiving encrypted letters by someone claiming to be the killer and calling themselves “Zodiac”, threatening to kill a dozen people if he doesn’t get credited in the newspaper. Crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) is trying to make sense of the letters but when political cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) chimes in, he can’t help but not take him seriously. After Paul realizes Robert might be right about a few things, they start collaborating to decipher the mystery.
In charge of the San Francisco police investigation are inspectors David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards). We’ll see them question more than a few suspects, some of them ruled out apparently too quickly, specially someone that the book and the film obviously puts their suspicions on, but I will let you find that out for yourself. This one is a thriller and a mystery based on a real case, where the protagonists both police and reporters end up haunted by their own investigation. As more murders occur and suspects get ruled out, we’ll see the events take their toll on their lives. It’s dirty and messy and rather realistic.
Highly recommended for amateur sleuths and true crime fans. That being said, don’t expect the film to tie it all up with a ribbon. Robert Graysmith does seem to reach the conclusion that one of the suspects was the infamous Zodiac, but whether he gets it or not the case remains open and the lives of many end up lost or destroyed. There is a deeper layer to consider if an investigation should really turn into an obsession, specially when there is no result to come out of it. As much as it is a fictionalized and biased, it never goes for closure. Worth a watch, but don’t expect any shootouts or a chase at the end.
That will do for now.