Monday, March 19, 2007

Zodiac

Miracle of miracles, I didn’t end up in some Irish bar on St. Patrick’s day (and consequently had a good work day on THE PRICE yesterday, funny how that works).

I went out and saw ZODIAC instead.

Even though I’m a little late seeing it I’ve been waiting for this one a long time – that cast, for one thing, and of course, the subject matter, because that’s just the kind of twisted person I am.

It is a gorgeous movie - beautiful photography, set design, period details, and I love watching so many of those actors and I ALWAYS love looking at San Francisco.

Much has been said about the (over) length of the film and I don’t really have to add to that, except that yes, I believe it would have done better with a half hour cut from it.

But even beyond that, it never engaged me the way I was so hoping it would.

I think the real thing that was missing from this film – for me - was the FEAR of this guy. This all happened before serial killing was even named that, but Zodiac was one of the first modern celebrity killers, and I can't believe the killings didn't have more of an impact - like on a panic level - on the citizens of those communities. I grew up in California and YEARS after this guy had dropped off the map, we kids were scaring ourselves senseless by telling ourselves Zodiac stories around the fire at Girl Scout camp. He was our Boogey Man. So if that legend pervaded with kids, it must have been there at the time, too, that deep, mythic fear of this creepy unknown guy and his creepy ciphers and threats of killing schoolkids.

I didn't feel any of that in the movie. And I didn't even feel much fear in the murder scenes – I had only passing empathy for the victims, when obviously, those situations would be terrifying.

I think a huge opportunity was lost here to get under people's skin with that film, just as the real Zodiac obviously did.

Now, that’s not the movie Fincher was making – there’s a good interview with him here about it.

I’m just saying – because it’s subject matter I tackle, and it’s my job to figure out what would have done it for me.

Anyone else see this one? Thoughts?

7 comments:

May said...

When I thought Zodiac, I thought you had read Vicki Pettersson's The Scent of Shadows, the first book of her Zodiac series. LOL.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hah, May.

No, you can take the girl out of Hollywood, but you can't take Hollywood out of the girl.

MysterLynch said...

My own take on the movie was that it lacked direction. It told us about a killer, whose identity was never really known, that killed some people, the number of which was never really known since it is thought that he claimed credit for some he had nothing to do with.

The reason he killed was never really known either.

I thought the film was well done, and had some nice performances, but I never found the point to the film.

My thought was the that the fellow that wrote the book gave up a lot to follow his obsession. He lost/quit his job and lost his wife because of this obsession.

I think the film would have been much more effective if they had focused more on him and why he could not walk away from this. He pursued this for two decades.

The police on the case were eventually able to leave it behind, but he could not.

Think of the story they could have told about the writer and his obsession.

Well shot, but I found it very underwhelming.

RAC said...

It's estimated that at any point in time, about 25 serialkillers are on the road in America. Zodiac the film should have tapped into this underlying fact as an ever-present fear. Suspense shoulda/coulda been maintained for the entire duration of the film.

mmm said...

I grew up in Vallejo California and the Zodiac was and is still very real and present in that town. If you hike up in Blue Rock Springs hills you will find his name carved in the trees still. Lake Hermen Road and Grvity hill was a lovers lane for generations after the killngs, and last I saw years ago that same turn out is still there. if you were to go onto classmates.com for Hogan High there is even a topic on the Zodiac, and why is one of his victims names registered on it. The Zodiac liked the attention of the media and most likly out of respect of those who were killed and are still in hiding is the very reason why it took over thirty years for this to become a movie, he shouldnt get this much atteniton. All I can hope is this story stays alive and maybey someday someone will find that hood or some clue as to who he really is.

Still scared.

mmm said...

I grew up in Vallejo California and the Zodiac was and is still very real and present in that town. If you hike up in Blue Rock Springs hills you will find his name carved in the trees still. Lake Hermen Road and Grvity hill was a lovers lane for generations after the killngs, and last I saw years ago that same turn out is still there. if you were to go onto classmates.com for Hogan High there is even a topic on the Zodiac, and why is one of his victims names registered on it. The Zodiac liked the attention of the media and most likly out of respect of those who were killed and are still in hiding is the very reason why it took over thirty years for this to become a movie, he shouldnt get this much atteniton. All I can hope is this story stays alive and maybey someday someone will find that hood or some clue as to who he really is.

Still scared.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Richard and MMM - that's EXACTLY what I'm talking about, and what was missing for me in the film.

Zodiac was one of the archetypal, mythic, mysterious serial killers. He defined the term.

Those of us who grew up in No Cal grew up with the Zodiac as our bogeyman - in reality and in our dreams.

But I didn't get ANY of that mythic creepiness from this movie.

Really, a missed opportunity to do something lasting.