★★★ / ★★★★
A lot of casual movie-goers were disappointed with this movie because they expected more jolt-inducing scenes that remained in their spine for some time. Meanwhile, critics loved its realism and labyrinthine-like mystery. I wasn’t disappointed with this film nor did I love it as much as the professional film critics when I saw it for the first time. I simply liked it for the following reasons: the two-and-a-half hour span of this movie symbolized the grueling, long-term challenges the real-life detectives went through and Jake Gyllenhaal’s mature performance (as Robert Graysmith who wrote a book about his experiences) about a man’s journey down the rabbit hole. I was fascinated by his obsessive personality; as he got closer to the identity of the killer, the more he neglected himself and his family. But after watching it for the second time, I almost loved it because of the amount of detail that David Fincher, the director, put into the film. There was a certain crispness with how everything was shot yet still remained very atmospheric and implemented the classic Fincher awkward camera angles. I loved how first part of the movie focused on Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. as a cartoonist and writer (named Paul Avery), respectively, for the San Francisco Chronicle. They had great chemistry because they were so different from one another yet they had a common goal. That is, to catch the very elusive and mysterious Zodiac killer that plagued the San Francisco Bay Area. The second act focused on Mark Ruffalo as Inspector David Toschi as he interviewed possible suspects. I believe this was Ruffalo’s most complete performance to date because I got to see him change from an enthusiastic man to a man who became so defeated from getting close to the killer but not quite catching him. And the third act was how Gyllenhaal and Ruffalo worked together to get even closer to solving the mystery. I was impressed with the level of suspense this film had despite not having huge explosions and extended chase scenes. Although the violence was brutal, I found that the scenes that left something for the imagination were more haunting, such as the scene when a woman and her baby got into the car of the notorious murderer. Its craft was in the dialogue as we wade through important and unimportant pieces of the puzzle, the unpredictable twists and grueling passage of time as the characters became more and more worn out trying to chase Zodiac. Since I’m from the Bay Area, I think this picture is special because the possibility that Zodiac still roaming around and passing as one of us just chills me to the bone.