So in order to cleanse myself from so much high art, I went to see David Fincher's Zodiac today, a movie that has gotten unfairly great reviews. It is not a bad movie. It is not a good movie. It is a waste of millions of dollars and hundreds of minutes. I enjoyed it but it left me wondering why I had spent so much time looking at a yellow movie. I enjoyed watching Jake Gyllenhall because I love his eyes the size of flying saucers. He should capitalize more on his funny bone. He has one great scene where he is late for a date with ice queen Chloe Sevigny and he is very funny. I wish he had added a bit more complexity to his character, a bit more darkness, a bit more neurosis. Eagle Boy Scouts are just not interesting enough. Bring back Donnie Darko. I love Jake, and no matter how incomplete his acting I will defend him to the death because he is a cutie.
The most enjoyable thing in the movie is, as always, Robert Downey Jr, who is fast becoming Dustin Hoffmann Jr, with heaping amounts of hammy shtick, but shtick that works. He is alive, and mercurial and funny and he nails his lines with gleeful ferocity, and he is a joy to watch. He plays a drug addicted journalist fearlessly and shamelessly, unrepentantly, like he knows what it's like to be one. God bless him.
I enjoyed watching the outstandingly watchable Mark Ruffalo, who listens so actively, and intelligently, and sentiently, you want to take him home and have him listen to you all the time, with those big eyes and that tender face of his.
I enjoyed watching Anthony Edwards, another solid, reliable actor, and particularly, the great, unsung John Carroll Lynch (Frances McDormand's husband in Fargo), doing a subtle campy turn (indeed it is possible) as the major suspect in the chase.
Then there is the gravelly voiced Phillip Baker Hall as a graphologist and the always over the top but great Brian Cox, playing flamboyant lawyer Melvin Belli. He also brings much needed life to the proceedings. So by my estimation, Zodiac counts as a chick flick, because there are so many great guys to watch (there is more: Elias Koteas, whom je adore because he was great as Gary Gilmore and the long forgotten James LeGros and Donal Logue, a cast of thousands, as you can see).
David Fincher is quite competent and the movie is well staged, but so what? What is the point of this exercise in jaundice? Are we to congratulate Hollywood because they dared make a film that has no ending? Is that what the praise is about?