David Fincher is certainly one of the most interesting filmmakers the 21st century has to offer, and one of the most consistent too, managing to keep the quality of practically all of his films, more or less, well above middling. He also happens to be someone who has a certain affinity for dark, complex crime stories, exploring this facet of cinema in a wide variety of ways across the course of his career but, again, almost always managing to do a fantastic job, no matter which direction he goes.
Zodiac feels slightly apart from a lot of Fincher’s other films to me, primarily in that it’s darkness is often much more subtle and, frankly, much more sinister. It’s also the only Fincher film, to date, I’d be comfortable calling an ‘epic’, and it’s really something getting to see the filmmaker play around with such a vast, decade-spanning story that is completely deserving of such treatment.
Just like Memories Of Murder that came before, Mindhunter that came after, and many others I’m sure I’ve missed in between, there’s undeniably something very compelling, and equally depressing about watching detectives have their lives, and themselves waste away as they endlessly pursue a killer who is always seemingly just out of their grasp. Exploring the serial murder mystery, and the real life cases through a stern, uncompromising focus on the lives of those designated to solve them is just an excellent concept, and when set up for great character directors like Fincher, you can’t even act surprised when they do a stellar job. Of course, a character-driven narrative wouldn’t be anything at all without said characters.
Although I’m starting to get the feeling RDJ plays the exact same character in every single film, his performance here feels very natural in context of Zodiac, and so I couldn’t really complain – Gyllenhaal and Rufallo are really the stars of the film, consistently giving some of their best work to date. To be honest, I’d been wanting to see this film for far too long at this point, and now I’m just really glad I was able to both see it, and thoroughly appreciate it too.