THE TOP TEN: #10: Zodiac
I shall warn you now: this top ten is not a happy bunch of films. Most grapple with dark, uncomfortable themes; in many ways, 2007 was the grimmest year at the movies for quite a while. Zodiac is no exception: this is a movie obsessed with obsession, fascinated with how darkness drives people to the edge, to their own darkness. Darkness is a never-ending circle, and once you become trapped within it, like the men hunting the Zodiac killer, it's difficult, perhaps impossible, to escape it. Director David Fincher is on precise form here, delicately and deliberately leading us through a slow maze of red-herrings, dead ends and mystifying occurances and abandoning us before we're anywhere near the end. Shocks, something he's well-versed in after Se7en, are filmed with a horrifying rawness and morbid sensibility. The performances, ranging from the youthful, inquisitive Jake Gyllenhaal to the weary Mark Ruffalo to the sidelined Chloe Sevigny to the dangerous John Carrol Lynch, are rich and fascinating, a sly examination of the effect of obsession from within and without. Perhaps it is sometimes a little languid, and a bit too long, but in a way those are also strengths: exiting the theatre, it feels like you've lived someone's life along with them, longeurs and all, and it's exhilirating as much as it's exhausting.