Approaching David Fincher's latest creation put an ache in the pit of my stomach. On one hand, I eagerly anticipate anything that he creates, and he has not disappointed my yet (yes, including Alien3). I avoided reading any full reviews, yet I found it impossible to avoid all discussion of the film, and the discussions I found seemed to be split between the extremes. One of the biggest factors seemed to be an excessive running time of 16o minutes (which I also read was cut down from the original cut which ran over three hours), another big one was that there was little action making it feel more A&E and less HBO. Well, my wanting to see this overrode any qualms I may have had, and I have to say that I am glad that I did.
Zodiac is marketed as a serial killer thriller, yet that is not quite right. It is based on the true story of a killer who dubbed himself the Zodiac, and killed an unknown number of people over a long period of time, during which he would send letters confessing to the crimes, along with ciphers, to the newspapers. Essentially giving the police the clues to come with arm's reach of discovering him, yet far enough away that they never actually have a clue as to his true identity. Now I am going to say something that gives thought to what it may be like to be under siege such as the city of San Francisco was, and also the film's biggest weakness. To live through something like this has to be absolutely terrifying, think about knowing that a killer is out there, brazen enough to tease those looking for him. The drawback in the film is that it never strays from those reporters and detectives who are working the case, we don't get to the people and the fear that they had to have been feeling.