Saturday, January 24, 2009
See it again: Zodiac
We will all remember 2007 as one of the greatest years for film in our lifetime. Those of us who contribute to this blog have spent countless hours debating 'There will be Blood' against 'No Country for Old Men' and its what we live for. I've always believed that the best films ever made are ones that compel us to see them multiple times. Lately I've had the fortune of revisiting a film that should have been included on every one's 'best of' list not only for the year 2007, but for all of this decade. I remember seeing 'Zodiac' in the theater and liking it, but at the time I remember needing to see it again. Sadly that never happened and the film got lost in the shuffle of my memory banks until this month when I saw it again....and again....and again. Usually when we hear "David Fincher" images of 'Seven' and 'Fight Club' are what our movie brains show us, because they are movies which stand out on their own (Personally, 'Seven' is one of the best films I've ever seen). They both have a style and voice that distinguish themselves amongst the crowd and will always be remembered. In fact, he hasn't directed a movie that I would classify below the rating of OK, his last film falls into that category. For me, Zodiac winds up far on the other end of the scale because it is nothing short of a masterpiece. Zodiac is a brilliantly crafted film in every technical aspect and is delivered in a subtle, classic style. The real jewel of the movie, i believe, is the structure of the screenplay. Simply put, it's a chronological case study spanning 22 years put in the form of a story...no flashbacks, no narration (These aren't BAD things, it's just nice to see a movie that can pull it off by giving the audience accountability). It's up to you, the viewer, to keep up with what's going on. Every scene....almost every shot gives you something, a small advancement to the story. It's amazing how a two second cut can make me put my hands up in the air as if to cheer on the attention to the smallest detail. In a way, it can make you obsessed with the story the way Robert Graysmith was with the case. Combine these elements with a beautifully lensed picture and you've got a real work of art. Acting: Every actor in this movie deserves to be mentioned. I've always been a fan of Mark Ruffalo, the guy can morph into any character you throw at him and he absolutely shines in this role. Also, John Carroll Lynch, who I most remember as Norm Sonofa-Gunderson from 'Fargo,' is outstanding in the precious few minutes he has on screen, which is also the best scene of the movie. Surely an achievement of this magnitude should attract attention from the Academy, right? Not so much. I won't go on a rant about the academy right now, because we would be here all day. For now, I'll just say this: If you go to the Academy's website (oscar.org), in the lower left hand corner, you can search the academy's database. Type in 'Zodiac' and see what comes up. It's a fucking joke. If you've only seen this movie once, or not at all, and if you have the time (or The Movie Channel) please give it another view...or three. It will be well worth your time to reinvest in an instant classic.