Movie:  Zodiac (2007)…Just got back from the movies and I have to say I really enjoyed this flick.  It’s not an Academy Award type of gig, at least not IMO, but one of those “you actually have to think and pay attention” movies.  Because I grew up in Northern California and lived in the Zodiac’s kill range later in my life (we were stationed in
Vacaville, CA), this movie had particular interest to us.  It was very cool to see the areas I’ve been to (Vallejo, Lake Berryessa & San Francisco) and the TV stations and newspapers I’m familiar with.  When it comes to the storyline itself, it linearly follows the Zodiac’s spree from the first “official” killings in 1969 through the prime suspect’s death in 1991.  Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance was very good, as it showed his progression from interested observer to a man consumed by outing the killer.  Mark Ruffalo was my personal favorite (as Det Toschi), because he accurately portrayed the concept of letting a case go cold, not because you’re not committed to it, but because of the horrendous caseload most homicide detectives have to shoulder.  It was also a particular joy for me to see Elias Koteas, who I’ve adored since Fallen, though he REALLY reminded me of Robert Duvall…his mannerisms and the hairline were almost eerie.  And as always, Robert Downey Jr was freakin’ fabulous…he plays the drunken, cynical reporter to perfection.  To be honest, this movie, while clearly about Gyllenhaal and Ruffalo’s characters, is a fabulous showcase of ensemble acting…Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Dermott Mulroney…the list of excellent actors continues.  As a matter of fact, you’d probably be amazed at how many actors you recognize in this movie, but don’t have significant parts.
 The one part of the movie that titillated my mind was the character of Vaughn… 

SPOILER ALERT…I’m sure that he was eliminated as a suspect, but they left it kind of open-ended, or at least unresolved.  I mean, seriously, his handwriting is described as a “match” (with the exception of the “k”…of which a special point is made earlier), he knew the mysterious “Rick Mitchell” *and* had a basement, which was specifically mentioned in one of the Zodiac’s letters.  I dunno, it just struck me as odd that his whole storyline wasn’t followed to its conclusion…or perhaps that was the filmmaker’s intent…to leave Vaughn, Rick Mitchell and so many others of the 2,500 suspects as a “to be continued”.  END OF SPOILER  The prime suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen, played by John Carroll Lynch (who you’ll remember from his brilliantly dry performance in Fargo) is still under serious consideration at this time, even though he died of a massive heart attack in 1991, just prior to being questioned again.  I guess we’ll see what happens as they begin to test the recently rediscovered Zodiac envelopes for DNA. As a whole, I’d recommend this movie to anyone who likes solid performances and a “thinking” movie, but if you aren’t willing to watch a film where nothing goes “boom”, then this probably isn’t for you.

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