James Ellroy: “Gyllenhaal, Downey and Ruffalo are pathetic in Zodiac”

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James Ellroy: "Gyllenhaal, Downey and Ruffalo are pathetic in Zodiac"
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Despite this, the author of Black Dahlia loves David Fincher’s thriller.

Update September 18, 2021: Zodiac will be rebroadcast on Sunday on Arte, and if it is one of director Guillermo del Toro’s favorite films (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water), the writer James Ellroy had harsh words towards the David Fincher film released in 2007 in theaters. Or rather to his cast, because over the course of his review, he actually explained that he loved this thriller and its thoughts on the obsession. To wait until the replay of this survey, we will share his comments, recorded in 2014.

Guillermo del Toro analyzes Zodiac, his favorite Fincher

Article from October 31, 2014: The roads of the brilliant American author James ellroy (American Tabloid, LA Confidential) and the director David Fincher (Seven, Gone Girl) have already crossed paths on several occasions, whether during the adaptation of the Black Dahlia (finally staged by Brian de Palma) or on the occasion of various TV projects, and the two men appreciate each other and love their respective works. Latest proof, an interview with James Ellroy granted to the site NPR in which the author talks about his favorite black films. And in the midst of classics of the genre like The Claw of the Past of Jacques Tourneur Where Enraged dog of Akira Kurosawa, Ellroy quotes a unique contemporary film, Zodiac, the 2007 David Fincher film about the obsession and general neurosis engendered by a serial killer on the west coast of the United States in the 1970s.

Zodiac: David Fincher talks about his tense relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal

While he particularly appreciates Fincher’s treatment of this hyper-media news item, Ellroy can’t help but pinpoint a huge problem that he says is preventing Zodiac to be an ultimate masterpiece: “This is a film about the killer we called Zodiac who killed five people in San Francisco in 1969 before disappearing. But it is above all a film about men and their obsession that derails their lives. There is also watermarks of a homosexual triangle forming and stoking that same obsession: a destroyed man – that’s the character of Robert Downey Jr., journalist Paul Avery. Another who thinks he’s solved the problem. Case – it’s loser young cartoonist Robert Graysmith, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. And then there’s the noble cop played by Mark Ruffalo, who towards the end thinks young Gyllenhaal might be right. But one of the things interesting with Zodiac, one of the most interesting is that Gyllenhaal, Downey and Ruffalo are pitiful in the movie. This is a huge cinematic work, with three extremely bad and unconvincing actor performances at the center of it all. I don’t believe a single word of what comes out of their mouths, but that doesn’t stop Zodiac to be a great movie. Notably thanks to its fascinating themes: the banality of obsession, and the trivialization of police work. “

The trailer for Zodiac :

Why are the works of David Fincher so fascinating?

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