an essential thriller by David Fincher who is one of the main influences of ‘The Batman’

It has already been 15 years since its premiere and it continues to make an impact. His imprint can still be seen in works such as ‘The Batman’, which clearly draws from his approach to investigative thrillers and serial killers. His ideas have also found extension in other works. from David Fincher like the impeccable ‘Mindhunter’. There’s no other way to say it, ‘Zodiac’ is a true classic.

Like the Matt Reeves movie, ‘Zodiac’ has recently arrived at the HBO Max catalog to quench our thirst for adult thrillers of immense dimensions, in addition to great billing. Just the kind of movie that no longer abounds in our theaters, with Hollywood finding itself unable to bring them back to an increasingly well-off audience unless it puts on a mask and cape. There is no better example of this drift than the fact that Fincher has already taken several projects in a row direct to streaming.

The long and hard investigation

Beyond laments for a way of making movies that is increasingly on the verge of extinction, the reality is that ‘Zodiac’ was a complicated project from the beginning. Fincher has spoken of memories of him as a child being warned about the dangers of serial killers on the loose, which were scarier than stories about “bogeymen” because they were more real and plausible in his area. The zodiac killer was the most chilling of all, and his father, a journalist at the time, made sure that his son had the threat present.

Shortly after the success of ‘Seven’, the director was approached for a film on the hunt for the Zodiac killer, taking the rights to the non-fiction book written by Robert Graysmith and the script of a James Vanderbilt fascinated by history. Fincher insisted on the need to make a rigorous portrait of what is known about the murderer, and it required years of research and reading of police files to do so. An expert in forensic linguistics was even hired to analyze the letters sent by the criminal.

It was something too ambitious for most studies, especially when the director was committed to a duration close to three hours. It was not until an unusual agreement between Warner Bros and Paramount that the project was able to finance that nearly 85 million budget, mainly derived from the grueling filming. Fincher was looking for an investigative thriller tone close to the classic ‘All the President’s Men‘, but following a policeman (Mark Ruffalo), a journalist (Robert Downey Jr.) and a cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) who become obsessed with the case at different stages.

This follow-up of the men who were following the case, in addition to being exciting due to the good use of the thriller codes and the portrait he makes of the figure of the murderer, also shows the incredible wear and tear that the process makes on the protagonists. The succession of dead ends, clues that lead nowhere, and the constant look at the darkest of the human being leaves different notches and irreparable changes in them.

‘Zodiac’: when the abyss stares back at you

Fincher is also able to reflect various tragedies throughout this story. First the frustration with justice that never seems to be exercised, with the case losing notoriety until the authorities choose to dismiss it. According to the obsession of Gyllenhaal’s character, the only one who Persists in research beyond what is recommendedreaching extremes where their physical, mental and even family integrity will crack.

The film takes us to that devastating moment where what Nietzsche said about staring into the abyss for so long that it stares back at you comes to life.

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Fincher’s impeccable narration, which maintains an unbreakable pulse in these almost three hours of challenging structure, and which uses in a very measured way the darkest moments like the murders, they keep the movies just as solid after all these years.

One of those films whose look at horror is accessible, but at the same time notes like this it gets under your skin. You don’t end ‘Zodiac’ the same way he started it. It is another of the many reasons why it is a classic.