Re-Watching: Zodiac


I wanted to re-watch this film because of my review of Bullitt brought up an interesting point.  Steve McQueen based his performance of Bullitt on David Toschi, check out my look at Bullitt here:

Toschi, the lead investigator on the Zodiac case is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in this film.  Toschi is the basis for Dirty Harry as well, so Toschi was a real life badass that has become part of 3 great neo-noir movies.

Zodiac is based on a book by Robert Graysmith, who is played by Jake Gyllenhaal.  This movie actually reopened the case of the Zodiac.  Though most of this film is based on Graysmith’s take of the case so it is basically from one persons prospective.

The film is directed by one of my favorite directors of all time, David Fincher.  We will be re-looking at many more Fincher neo-noir films on this site.

Robert Downey Jr. played Paul Avery, a reporter famous for working on the Zodiac case as well as the Patricia Hearst Kidnapping case.

The dialog in this film has flashing moments of classic noir dialog.  I didn’t pick up on this when I watched it the first time back in 2007.

A couple I loved:

Robert Graysmith: Doesn’t it bother you that people call you Shorty?
Shorty: Doesn’t it bother you that people call you retard?
Robert Graysmith: Nobody calls me that.
Shorty: Right.


Paul Avery: What do you do for fun?
Robert Graysmith: I love to read.
Paul Avery: Mhmm.
Robert Graysmith: Umm, I enjoy books.
Paul Avery: Those are the same things.

And maybe the best is David Toschi constantly asking for some Animal Crackers.

David Fincher also does a great job of showing San Francisco in a classic fashion, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Port of San Francisco and the time laps of the Transamerica Pyramid give the film a dark look.  The creepy basement scene, with lots of shadows is almost black and white in feel.

This movie comes to a conclusion that a certain suspect was in fact the Zodiac Killer(I will not mention names for those that have not seen the movie).  Later DNA testing seems to have cleared this person.  There is many other theories on who was the Zodiac Killer, but nobody has officially solved the crime yet.  Since this film there has been numerous deathbed confessions and supposed new evidence.  One theory actually links the case of the Black Dahlia with the Zodiac Killer.  We may never know the real story of this case, but this film is entertaining on its own.

Re-Watching the Classics: Bullitt


Bullitt is a movie based on the book Mute Witness by Robert L Fish.  Even though this movie is based on a book, it does not have an over whelming plot.  Luckily this movie stars the king of cool, Steve McQueen as Bullitt.  This film is definitely more style then story. The story starts out with Bullitt assigned to protect a witness, his team doesn’t do so well.  This turns Bullitt into a rogue detective, breaking some of the rules to find the people responsible.  The cars and the city of San Francisco are just as big of stars as the actors in this film. Peter Yates does a great job of making this film look interesting and real.  The editing flows well and won Frank P. Keller an Oscar.

Of course this movie is best known for its great car chase scene with McQueen in his Mustang and the bad guys running a Dodge Charger.  The scene has no music, just the sound of 2 American Big Blocks roaring through the streets.  Steve McQueen was known as a great driver and did some of his own driving in the scene.  If you’re a car nut you will love this car chase, maybe the most famous in cinema history.  I’m a Porsche guy so I personally love seeing Jacqueline Bisset drive McQueen down the highway in her yellow Porsche 356 Cabriolet.  For those that didn’t already know, Steve McQueen was a motorhead, he loved cars and motorbikes.  He owned many interesting vehicles, and Porsches where a big part of that collection.

Election Movie one

Interesting trivia on this film is McQueen was inspired by real life San Francisco Detective Dave Toschi for his character.  Toschi is most famous for being the lead detective on the Zodiac Killer Case.  He was portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in David Fincher’s Zodiac(We will review this movie in the future).  He was also the inspiration for Dirty Harry, one of Clint Eastwood’s most famous characters.

Besides McQueen, Bisset who plays Cathy, Bullitt’s girlfriend also stars.  I do wish she had more screen time in this movie, she is a very minor sub-plot.  We also see Robert Vaughn as a possible corrupt politician.  Some of the supporting cast highlights are Norman Fell as the police captain and my favorite, Robert Duvall as a taxi driver.

Bullitt is required viewing for noir buffs, car buffs, and movie buffs in general.