Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's Your Sign?

Many people have criticized Zodiac, one of my favourite movies, for being "slow", or lacking action, or being "boring". To those people, I say go watch a Bruce Willis movie (preferably Hostage 'cause it ROCKS). Zodiac, based on the book by Robert Graysmith detailing his involvement in the investigation of the Zodiac Killer, is a perfectly paced cinematic masterpiece. It hits just the right note with its methodical detective work and creeping suspense. And humour is still a perfect component in the pairing of Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. Everything about this movie is spot on. The music, the directing, the cinematography, the ACTING. Every piece of the puzzle is meticulously placed and it all fits together perfectly. Clearly, I am a huge fan.

Now, I could gush for hours about how wonderfully executed this film was, but that's only half the story. What I really want to address are the complaints that the movie generated by some people.


I've heard quite a few complaints that Zodiac was too slow and didn't hold the audience's interest. There are many great movies wherein the pacing is purposefully slow. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film's pace is supposed to metaphorically match the speed of real space travel. It takes a very long time to travel from Earth to Mars, and the movie's pace reflected that. That's only one of a million reasons why 2001 garnered so many favourable reviews. In Zodiac, the pacing is supremely important because the movie tells the story of a police investigation spanning several decades. To jump from one action sequence to the next would destroy the atmosphere of the film and turn a chilling story into a laughable attempt at horror.

THE (lack of) ACTION:

Another common beef with Zodiac is its lack of explosive, non-stop action, but truth be told, the movie is not meant to be an action flick. Now, personally, I found the murder scenes more disturbing than in any other film. There's no telltale music indicating that a death is near. The lighting isn't dark and threatening. The victims are not running in terror from a towering monster. The victims are regular people doing regular things. The one that really makes me shudder is the murder of the couple on a picnic. It all just seems so realistic, and it should, since it really happened. The lighting is bright and cheery and the landscape is gorgeous. They're just enjoying their afternoon when a man approaches them and stabs them to death, and not in the cheesy, horror movie way with blood spatters and over-exaggerated violence. No, the murders are supremely real and supremely terrifying. Again, the acting is so spectacular that it sucks you into the film and you feel as if you're really living the investigation alongside its characters.


I cannot be professional when addressing this one. THEY NEVER CAUGHT THE GODDAMN KILLER! They can't just say, "Yeah, this is the guy. DEFINITELY.", end scene. To this day, the identity of the killer is still unknown. The movie does offer Robert Graysmith's opinion on it, and honestly, that should be enough. You can't really expect a movie (based on a book) based on fact to just disregard everything that the movie's been working toward for the entirety of the film simply to satisfy the small percentage of the audience that dislikes ambiguity. It's a ridiculous expectation and, had it been implemented, it would have ruined what is actually a pretty fantastic film.

Okay, well, I really did just gush over the movie for the last three paragraphs, but in my defence, I did address what I intended to refute. I'm not saying anyone who dislikes the movie is an idiot (this time), but I do believe that if you complained about the movie for one of the reasons I've mentioned, you're pretty fucking stupid. You knew what you were getting into. Or you should have.


No comments:

Post a Comment