Roger Ebert coordinates a set of “Far-Flung Correspondents” over at the suntimes.com blog. Apparently, these correspondents, who are scattered across the globe, regularly comment on all things movie. A couple of days ago, one of the correspondents–Gerardo Valero from Mexico City–took on David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007). I’ve commented on the article here.
For ease of reference, I’m duplicating the comments in this post:
To be sure, the film is an excellent bit of movie making. However, it clearly suffers from being primarily based off of Graysmith’s book. For starters, Arthur Leigh Allen almost certainly was not the Zodiac. DNA, fingerprints, palm prints and handwriting have all excluded him. One can argue about the particulars of each, but the bottom line is that there is very little in the way of non-circumstantial evidence that points to Allen.
One part of the movie I wish Fincher would have done differently is include the murders of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen. They were the first Bay-Area victims and they deserve to have been included. The commentary from the Director’s cut describes that they were omitted because there were no eyewitness accounts as to what happened. However, in my judgment, that’s a weak reason.
The one point I disagree with from the above article is regarding the line: “…he [the Zodiac] gladly took the credit for crimes he couldn’t possibly have committed.” Apart from the ever increasing “score” (i.e. the killer’s implied claims as to how many people he had murdered), it’s a reasonable possibility that the killer was responsible for the crimes for which he took credit. Nowadays people are more skeptical about Cheri Jo Bates (October 1966 in Riverside) and SFPD has vehemently denied that he was responsible for the murder of Officer Richard Radetich in 1970 (which the killer seemed to imply). But there are reasons to believe the Zodiac was, in fact, responsible for both. Certainly, it’s a possibility. And then there’s the theory that the killer was not responsible for abducting Kathleen Johns, which was even highlighted in the movie. In my estimation, much too much is made of this possibility.
I have to say that the movie had an especially good tagline that clearly communicated the essence of the story: “There’s more than one way to lose your life to a killer.” And despite its moderate shortcomings, I find it hard not to like a Hollywood mega-production that gives such a high degree of exposure to the case.
If you’d like to read more about the Zodiac, please have a look at: Who was the Zodiac killer?
About Michael Cole
I'm an Electrical / Computer Engineer who has been fascinated with the case of the Zodiac Killer for more years than I care to remember... I also own and operate this website.