Friday, March 9, 2018


Mrs. Deathrage uncharacteristically asked to watch this film. First, a little backstory: Over the past few months, we had been accidentally watching History Channel's Hunt For The Zodiac Killer, which is one of those overlong investigative reality programs involving too many recaps and flashbacks following new examinations into the lurid, unsolved serial killings in California during the late 60s. Making five episodes seem like 500, each episode runs over and over ground it has covered to keep eyeballs on the program, and it's extremely effective.

So, when Mrs. Deathrage suddenly expressed interest in the film about the Zodiac Killings by David Fincher, I was pretty thrilled. I was under the impression she was intrigued by the ciphers, the investigation, the killer's maniacal taunting of several California police investigations, and wanted to see Fincher's take on the material.

Obviously, I was somewhat curious as to why she was so interested in watching Zodiac. Unfortunately, I made the terrible mistake of asking. The reason she wanted to watch it is because, and I quote, 'It's full of hot guys', and I really should have known.

I suppose if that is what it's going to take to get my wife to watch a nearly 3-hour long police procedural full of cryptography, handwriting analysis, and unsolvable riddles, then so be it.

This is my third viewing of Zodiac, and every time I get something new out of it. This time, it has come to my attention that composer David Shire used textures from Charles Ives' piece entitled The Unanswered Question to represent the haunted, obsessed cartoonist Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), and my mind is blown.

Serene strings provide a steady, unwavering background. A distant trumpet asks a question, seemingly oblivious to the tempo of the strings. The woodwinds try to answer, but ultimately give up in atonal frustration. David Shire could easily have used any unsettling orchestral music to symbolize Graysmith's never-ending search for the answer to Zodiac's puzzles, but to use this specific work adds a lovely, subliminal depth to Gyllenhaal's dissonant, inquisitive character. Amazing. 

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