Thursday, April 05, 2007

Zodiac (2007)

Solid open-ended procedural, but at times like this I can't help but remember that "solid" and "stolid" are separated by only one letter. It's pretty terrific for the majority of its running time; once the focus shifts for good to Jake Gyllenhaal's intrepid, obsessed reporter, I think the film loses something. Much of this has to be hung on Gyllenhaal -- I generally like him, but here he lacks the necessary force of personality to make his all-consuming quest resonate like it should. His bashful recessiveness works when he's still part of the ensemble, but when he moves to the forefront, the recessiveness stays bashful instead of transforming into something uncomfortable and dangerous. Director David Fincher keeps his direction stylish without allowing it to overwhelm the material (there's no shots that call attention to themselves as much as the shot in Panic Room where Fincher zooms through a coffepot handle), and he gets some fine performances out of the majority of his cast, especially Mark Ruffalo; nevertheless, I don't see anything here that wasn't already done better by Memories of Murder.

Grade: B


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