Your Monday-morning movie endorsement.
It’s been a long time since I left a movie theater believing I had seen a great American film, but that’s exactly what was buzzing around my head as I walked out of Zodiac, David Fincher’s brilliant, obsessive recreation of the hunt for the serial killer who terrorized northern California in the late 1960s. Those familiar with Fincher’s work (Alien 3, Seven, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room) may be surprised by the restraint shown in this film, easily his best. No flamboyant camera work. No non-linear narrative to cope with. It’s not even a conventional thriller. Two-thirds of the picture are taken up with puzzling out the identity of the Zodiac. Making that sort of story compelling without leaning on visual trickery or telegraphic musical cues (a la Oliver Stone’s JFK) is a major cinematic accomplishment. All the movie relies on is its smart writing, superior performances (by the entire sprawling cast), and–it must be said–costume and set design (the film spans nearly a decade). The next time you have a few free hours, check it out.