IHAO on ... Zodiac
What happens when a very good director gets his hands on an uninteresting script? Zodiac.
Ok, uninteresting isn't fair. The story of the Zodiac killer is very interesting. But how this film goes about presenting it over two and a half hours is almost completely unenjoyable. It has too many characters that none get enough focus, and is incredibly unbalanced in how it tells its "story." I put "story" in quotes because this is very much presented as an Unsolved Mysteries episode, except it is actually a nice long marathon of episodes all about the same dude.
The Zodiac killer is a case all about possibly the greatest "unsolved" serial killings in the United States. We follow a group of people all working towards solving the case, specifically an editorial cartoonist played by Jake Gyllenhaal and an FBI guy on the case played by Mark Ruffalo. We shift from one to the other for a short time before we officially stick on Gyllenhaal's character as he gathers all the information again to write his book. This whole thing is very much based on that book. It is a historical fiction, in that it takes a collection of facts and history and then weaves bits of fiction between to present the story.
Let me talk about the good things: Fincher directs this movie, and in some moments, he is wonderful. Most moments, he is unremarkable. Really the whole film is unremarkable, except for ... ultimately three sequences. There are three sequences that really put on the tension and the interest in this film. Those sequences are probably three or four minutes long each. So let's be generous and say 12 minutes of this film is worth watching. That's not a high percentage.
The movie is not a bad one. It is just an unremarkable one, other than a few major successes in tension and storytelling. I would not suggest anyone watch this film, though if you do, and you are really into serial killer stuff, this may be a nice way to spend an afternoon, I suppose.