ARCHIVE REVIEW: Zodiac

Zodiac
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Robert Graysmith (book)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and John Carroll Lynch

Unsolved murders haunt us.  As the detective played by Mark Ruffalo remarks at one point in Zodiac, there were 200 murders committed since a serial killer left his brutal mark on the zeitgeist.  Those murders were explained, though, and as a result they are boring to us.

There are several fictionalized versions of the story of The Zodiac Killer, because finding a narrative that rewards a viewer would be daunting and it would miss the point.  This is a story that is not about rewards.  There is obsession laced within every frame of it, driving all of the principal characters and not just the psychopath.  A need for justice, a need to definitively know lies buried beneath the daunting surface of this David Fincher masterwork.

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SPOTLIGHT: Jake Gyllenhaal

His upcoming role in Duncan Jones’ second film Source Code is just around the corner and sounds similar to a few too many movies we have seen before like the recent The Adjustment Bureau. With trust in Jones, who brilliantly crafted 2009’s Moon, the movie may be a big hit for Gyllenhaal following his series of duds like Brothers, Prince of Persia and Love and Other Drugs.

 

Gyllenhaal broke out after his role in October Sky, landing him a role as the iconic Donnie Darko. In his early years he played the mysterious, troubled boy in transition with subtle angst that defined his generation so well. Gyllenhaal has only had one real commercial hit with the doomsday dud The Day After Tomorrow, and instead has found himself success in mid-budget films that allow him to capitalize on his ability to be the desired lead or play on his boyish masculinity like Jarhead, Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac. With only really a decade of acting under his belt, Gyllenhaal has managed to star in a handful of great films.

Donnie Darko– It is easily Gyllenhaal’s most iconic and recognizable role of his career. The cult film was initially slated for direct-to-video before being picked up at the last minute. Even so, the film was a commercial flop until a few years later when it picked up on the DVD market; especially given Gyllenhaal began breaking out with bigger, more mainstream films. Darko is a great, small science fiction film with a twist ending mainstream audiences crave. Gyllenhaal begins all his career staples here, playing the troubled boy dealing with pressures of the world.

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If they were in television… David Fincher

Notable films: The Social Network, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, and Se7en.

Famous for: Dark, beautiful visuals, perfectionism, masculine codes of honor, violence as a part of human DNA, social outcasts, and using famous actors in unexpected ways.

Hypothetical title: Blackout

Hypothetical premise: The show follows a career man plagued by boredom.  On his routine walk home from work one day, he stumbles on the aftermath of a brutal assault against a woman.  He becomes weirdly obsessed with the case when the police shove it aside, and as she lays in a coma in the hospital, he takes it upon himself to uncover what happened to her.  After discovering she was a journalist hot on the trail of a violent secret society that has infiltrated every crack of the local government, he begins to realize that he’ll need her help to uncover all the intricacies of the plot.  The woman wakes up from her coma, only to be abducted 20 minutes after being back on the streets.  As the season reaches its conclusion, the man tracks down the woman, only to discover that she leads the society, and that the assault was an attempt by a vigilante to remove her from power.

Cross between: Zodiac, Fight Club, Blue Velvet, and Sin City.

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