This year I'm going to look back at the movies of 2007 and 2012 to give a ten and five year re-evaluation of how the movies of these years hold up today. And so, today I kicked off this project by seeing Zodiac.
Zodiac wasn't nominated for any Oscars, it was David Fincher's first film in five years after directing Panic Room. It's a clean, well directed movie with great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo that has a message about the uncertainty of real life narrative. Through out the movie it's hard to tell which sources are fully believable about who the Zodiac killer is, if any of them. I think it's that uncertainty of what the story of the movie actually is, and the longer run-time that had this movie get lost in the shuffle for awards season ten years ago.
I think Zodiac gets an extra chance some other movies might not because David Fincher's directing career took a turn to critical acclaim and not just for being a stylized director in the years after 2007. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl before creating the US version of House of Cards. The consistency of critical acclaim, even for movies that might not have been as enjoyable as some of his earlier movies have meant that Fincher has a lot of critical respect and Zodiac is a movie that is remembered as an under-appreciated movie. I believe it was also one of the earliest watchable movies to make its way to streaming Netflix at a time when they didn't have a lot of streaming content so it probably got more of an audience than it otherwise would have.
I think that when compared to the movies made after 2007, Zodiac finds itself in the upper grouping of his work. I never did get around to seeing Benjamin Button because it received some strange reviews about its length and oddity and I wasn't willing to invest in a viewing of a movie that sounded like another Big Fish. Big Fish is not a bad movie, and it's beautifully made, but the oddness was a little heavy for me.
Ten years on, I have a feeling I'll be counting this as one of the best directed movies of 2007, and one of the best acted by Gyllenhaal and Ruffalo as well as an important role for Robert Downey Jr's career as it came just a year before Iron Man (although still a few years after his return films of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Good Night and Good Luck, and A Scanner Darkly). I don't expect it will be my favorite movie from 2007 as it's a pretty top heavy year, but I think if the 2007 Oscar noms were re-done today, Zodiac would certainly be getting more nominations than zero.
My Noms: Fincher for directing, Gyllenhall for acting, Music and score.