Where Seven unsettled me with its fictional account of the grotesque acts humanity is capable of, Zodiac left me in a state of utter restlessness after presenting me with the reality of what a human being can do. There’s a sickening and depraved nature that this film is weaved around that leaves the viewer with an illuminated sense of horror. From its very first killing scene to its final credits, Fincher presents you with the sickened aspects of humanity that continually surface across history; whether that’s the brutality of poisoning oneself’s with liquor, the danger of obsession or the very act of killing, Zodiac spares no one its decade-spanning haunting tale of human atrocity.
Zodiac, like the films of a true auteur, is a film I believe only David Fincher could have crafted so perfectly. The film nears the three-hour mark and every second of it feels perfectly earned and perfectly crafted. The longevity of the film is never felt despite the film being a decade-spanning epic, every moment feels earned because everything is so meticulously edited that the constant link between acts is completely unnoticeable, linking you to the viewing experience at all times. It’s more attention-grabbing than hypnotic because you never feel like your lost to the movement of the film, but you’re entirely observant by the flow of the film.
Performance-wise, Zodiac presents a fantastically constructed ensemble with two entirely committed actors leading the picture. From Robert Downey Jr., who has the biggest part to play apart from the two main players, to Chloë Sevigny who’s great in her small but deeply emotional role. As for those two main guys who I constantly keep alluding too, both Ruffalo and Gyllenhaal are great. Gyllenhaal does get somewhat cartoony at times with his mannerisms and his constant running around San Francisco, but besides that he turns in a great performance. And Mark Ruffalo, despite entering the film somewhat late delivers a subtly effective performance as Dave Toschi, the lead investigator behind “The Zodiac Case,” and in addition also forges an entirely believable chemistry with his investigating partner.
Zodiac is one of the few Fincher films I’d never seen and after countless people hyping it up, I must say it lived up to the expectations. Where Seven is one of the best fictional accounts of a serial killer, Zodiac might be the best non-fictional film about a serial killer. David Fincher direction is truly immaculate and luckily the same can be said about the rest of the films elements, from the elegant editing to the fantastic acting all-around. Zodiac is an unnerving portrait about the horror that hides inside human beings being unleashed, it’s chilling to the bone and if it doesn’t keep you up at night thinking about the horrors of humanity, I guarantee you it will lead you down an odd investigative rabbit hole about the Zodiac killings.