For the second time this year, I have seen a film that approaches perfection in filmmaking, although the subject matter of this film was not as appealing to me as that of The Lives of Others. Zodiac is about the search for a serial killer in California and I’ve never particularly appreciated serial killer films, though David Fincher’s Seven was certainly one of the better ones and Silence of the Lambs is a classic.
Fincher’s latest film is not so much a thriller (though it is suspenseful) as an intelligent absorbing drama about obsession and the need for answers and closure. In fact, it’s not really about the serial killer at all – it’s about the men tenaciously following every conceivable trail to find him and how this hunt affects their lives and the lives of their families. The characters are very well drawn and the acting is flawless throughout. The cinematography is also outstanding, especially given that it’s a low-tech movie that looks like it was filmed in the 70s. The setting authentically places you in the California of the 70s, and the writing is very sharp. It’s an excellent haunting film and my only question is whether it needed to be quite so long.
A solid ***+ verging on four stars.