Movie Review: Zodiac.

I want to enjoy Mark Ruffalo as an actor, I really do, but it's damn near impossible considering he's always doing these damned romantic comedies. This time, however, he plays the man (the police man) who inspired Steve McQueen's Bullit and Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. I can only be talking about Inspector David Toschi, and I can only be talking about "Zodiac".

Director David Fincher comes from a music video background, working with Aerosmith, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and even Miss Paula Abdul. But, star-studded vocalists aside, he's made some pretty fucking cool movies as well. Seven, The Game, Fight Club, and say what you want about Panic Room, but it was shot pretty fucking well. With Zodiac, even though it clocks in at a sliver under three hours, I gotta say he kept me entertained throughout. Though, as I said last night, this thing was really 2/3 of a great movie.

If you split this thing into thirds, you've got the first third which focuses in on the Robert Downey Jr. character. This part's great, but it's no coincidence since Robert Downey Jr.'s great in just about anything he does. The second third is the big investigation part with Ruffalo's character, who just so happens to be Anthony Edwards' partner on the force. This part's pretty damn good too, but the film is hamstrung by the actual events it tries to follow.

See, the serial killer (self-named Zodiac) was never officially caught. He was never officially identified. And, even though they managed to follow some pretty solid leads, they were always turned away by the fact that the handwriting samples couldn't be verified by the alcoholic so-called expert. So, instead of that big payoff you get in the movie Seven, Zodiac just kinda fizzles into obscurity with the final third of the movie. The Jake Gyllenhaal section.

He's the guy who wrote the True Crime novelization of this series of killings. So, he goes on his own little investigation, tying in evidence from three different police jurisdictions. But, in the end, he doesn't really get any closer to the truth than the police ever did. We don't get that payoff. We don't get that "I Did It" that we as the audience need to hear. In one way or another, be it flashback to the prime suspect actually committing the acts, seeing the blood spatter on his face, something. Anything. It's all poo-pooed in the end by a strong series of coincidence.

The saving grace for Zodiac IS, in fact, the acting. I mean, it's just strong across the board. In addition to those I named, they had the guy who played Drew Carey's brother, they had the guy who played Casey Jones in the Ninja Turtles movies, I mean just a ton of faces you don't know the names to but do their bit roles very well. But, like I said, this thing's pushing three hours down the stairs, so you better be in a mood. Rent it, unless you just love going to the movies.

By the way, just some gruesome killing scenes. They're mostly logged in within the first 90 minutes or so, but you don't usually get this kind of attention to detail outside of a Mel Gibson-directed flick.