WEIRDLAND: Waiting for Zodiac

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Waiting for Zodiac

"In the late 60's a serial killer in Northern California began sending the press letters and cryptograms. One cipher translated into a message that began "I like killing people because it is so much fun". These unsolved murders roughly inspired 1971's Dirty Harry and other films, but the story of the Zodiac Killer was ripe for a more faithful retelling. To deliver one, Fincher ("Figth Club") corralled material from those who lived through the terror; the resulting account stars Downey Jr. as "San Francisco Chronicle" reporter Paul Avery, and Gyllenhaal as cartoonist Robert Graysmith, who wrote two books about the case." [...]
-by Fred Schruers.
Pictures and text by IHJ.

"The first hour or so of the film focused on the Zodiac murders. Each of these scenes are thrilling and terrifying – more so than most horror films released these days. These events and their aftermath introduce us to the various protagonists of the film. Jake Gyllenhall plays a cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle who takes interest in the case and wants to crack it Hardy Boys style. Robert Downey Jr. (always a pleasure) plays an editor at the Chronicle who publishes articles on the Zodiac murders. Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards play the primary investigators working on the case. Each of these actors, as well as the many other wonderful actors that I was surprised to see pop up in the film, give absolutely excellent performances. This was the kind of work that makes you forget you’re watching actors and not the characters themselvesAs a result, the film is able to completely absorb you as a viewer into its world, and that’s always a good thing.

...The leads are Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Greysmith a SF Chronicle cartoonist who spends much of the film following the Zodiac killings from the sidelines and Mark Ruffalo as David Toschi, the SF detective who’s leading the investigation. At various points, one man will dominate the film while the other will recede into the background for quite a bit of time as the film focuses on different approaches towards finding Zodiac.

Ruffalo’s always been a favorite of mine, but the shocker here is Gyllenhaal who I’ve never liked in anything till this. His boyishness really suits the character and it’s impressive just to watch how tired and haggard and paranoid he gets by the film’s end. We really watch him age in a very realistic way (as opposed to the porno ‘stache and bad wig in Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal has a great scene w/ John Carroll Lynch in a paint store where almost nothing is said between them but it’s just such a startling and expressive moment of physical acting.

...The acting is superb. Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards are great as detectives Toschii and Armstrong. Gyllenhaal is good, albeit a little too young, as cartoonist Robert Graysmith. Downey Jr. comes across well as a newspaper columnist writing for the San Fran Chronicle who has a drinking problem.

-MINOR SPOILER- To David Fincher:
Please put the line "I'm going to throw your baby out the window" back in the movie. I was waiting for that line and the gasp from the audience that would have followed but instead you robbed me and them of a wonderfully horrific moment. Re-edit that scene."
(extracted from

"I'd rather wake up in jail for a TB test than have to wake up another morning knowing I'm going to the set of US Marshals."

"I don't think you can take it seriously unless you joke about it. I'm suspicious of stoicism"
(Robert Downey Jr. quotes)

“I think that no matter what, I always look for humanity, like I always look for a sense of hope. It can be in the bleakest story but I don’t buy total perversity, utter perversity without hope.” (Jake Gyllenhaal Source:


specialcracker said...

Robert Downey Jr in an excellent actor, who was too much time living in the dark side, but always professional in his roles.

gr77 said...

robert is a great actor.his performance in "charlie" was excellent.i'm glad he seems to be doing well.
but this waiting for zodiac is killing me!!!it's ridiculous that there's not even a teaser trailer out yet!!

jacknastygirl said...

looking at these pictures I think how totally different are Kirsten and two different worlds.

gr77 said...

what do you mean jacknastygirl?
i always thought they are very similar

jacknastygirl said...

I mean that Kirsten is so much like a little lady, very glamourous and absend minded
and Jake, on the other hand, is so different...he looks like he is thinking very intensive...that makes him looking so concentrated, that's why he CAN act
He looks so concentrated on the purpose that he is like condensated energy...and Kirsten doesn't look this way. But I think that Kirsten had big influence on him when they had been together

jacknastygirl said...

maybe Kirsten looks absent-minded because she's thinking about Jake? lol

Kendra said...

Kirsten probably is a more whimsical and frivolous actress, while Jake, as jacknastygirl suggests, comes across more serious or reflecting actor. I've noticed that even when Kirsten performs a dramatic role, she usually shows a colder side, not allowing her too much sentimentalism, Jake is a more sentymental creature in his films, but I'm with gr77 in that both have many points in common: hedonist attitudes, sense of fasion, quirky manners and both are atypical "products" of Hollywod.

jacknastygirl said...

hey, Jakey isn't typical product of Hwood! I disagree! He is so unique ;)

penny lane said...

Have just ordered Robert Graysmith's 'Zodiac' - thought I might just as well read the book first, since I have such a long wait before I will be able to see the movie here (Feb. 2007!).
These early 'reviews' sound promising!