The Zodiac (1/10)
by Tony Medley
There’s been a lot on TV recently about sleep apnea and other sleeping
disorders. Katie and Matt say on The Today Show that lots of people have
trouble sleeping and, gosh, gee, that’s really bad. They talk about
taking things to make you sleep and everyone seems to be really 100%
opposed to taking anything to make or help you sleep. But Katie and Matt
should see “The Zodiac,” because it is the greatest thing ever created
for creating sleep.
This is a film “based on” (we’re hearing that a lot lately) the real
Zodiac killer who roamed the San Francisco area in the late ‘60s,
killing at will. The Zodiac killer was never found. Apparently he’s
still out there.
There have been lots of films devoted to unsolved crimes, like L.A.’s
Black Dahlia, who was cut in half and left in a vacant lot in 1947, and
more to come. Jack the Ripper leads the pack. Lots of films about Jack.
Lots of films about the murder of another Jack, Kennedy, too.
But what these films have in common with one another, and how they are
dissimilar from “The Zodiac” is that they speculate about who could have
done it. The “Whodunit” is one of the most popular of film genres, if
not the most popular. But there are two parts to a whodunit. In addition
to the dunit, you must have the “who.” If you have the “who” you have
something interesting to contemplate. Could this have been the way it
was? Could he/she have really dunit?
Unfortunately, director/writer (with Kelly Bulkley) Alexander Bulkley
omits the “who” from this film. He has no clue whodunit and refuses to
speculate. Worse, the tells the story from the point of view of a young
detective, Matt Parish (Justin Chambers), and concentrates on how it
affects his relationship with his wife, Laura (Robin Tunney) and son,
Johnny (Rory Culkin). Frankly, who cares? While I’m at it, Bulkley makes
Johnny a really creepy character, for no apparent reason. He even has
weird music backing up his scenes.
The script needs lots of work. And the people who deliver the lines need
as much work as the script. Particularly inept is William Mapother, who
plays TV reporter Dale Coverling. His standups and commentaries look
like they came from a high school stage.
It really takes a certain level of talent to try to make a scary movie
out of a serial killer, showing most of his gruesome, cruel crimes, and
end up with a real yawner.
March 2, 2006