Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 290: Thu Oct 17

Zodiac (Fincher, 2007): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.15pm

This 35mm screening is part of the David Fincher season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find the details of the season here.

Here is a chance to see director Fincher's 2007 movie detailing the hunt for a serial killer who terrorised the San Francisco area in the late 1960s and early 70s. One of the many strengths of this film is the tangible sense of lives wasted from the policeman on the case to the relatives of those murdered. There's a scene towards the end featuring the man shot as a teenager at the beginning of the movie that is heartbreaking.

Time Out review:
In ‘Zodiac’, the serial killer is a setter of engrossing puzzles, a bit like a crossword compiler, or a certain type of film director. David Fincher’s movies have always had this flavour: ‘The Game’, ‘Panic Room’, ‘Fight Club’, ‘Alien3’ are all cat-and-mouse affairs of one kind or another; ‘Se7en’ proposed multiple murder as literary pop quiz. ‘Zodiac’ isn’t a puzzle film in quite that way; instead its subject is the compulsion to solve puzzles, and its coup is the creeping recognition, quite contrary to the flow of crime cinema, of how fruitless that compulsion can be. Stretching from 1969 to 1991, the film is based on the series of killings that petrified San Francisco during the ’70s, and more specifically on the book written about them by Robert Graysmith. Played by a typically puppyish Jake Gyllenhaal, Graysmith was a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist whose fascination with the murders engendered a kind of partnership with foppishly dissolute crime editor Paul Avery (a wrapped gift of a part for Robert Downey Jr), mirrored in the investigations of police detectives Mark Ruffalo and Anthony EdwardsPortraying the Zodiac’s attack on a young couple in a car in a deserted make-out spot, the opening scene – one of several bravura suspense sequences – can’t help but recall slasher convention; the investigation that follows seems like a pacey procedural. But the clues don’t quite fit together, the solution doesn’t come, and as procedure sprawls into obsession the tone shifts from genre picture to something more like curious observation – sometimes sympathetic, sometimes almost mocking – of the refusal to let go. Perhaps some puzzles should be set aside.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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