Sunday, March 04, 2007

Zodiac Review

Zodiac, directed by David FincherSteve Huff has won praise for his crime blogging: Wired called it 'A-list', and Rolling Stone says it's one of 'best true-crime sites on the net'. Huff posts a rundown of David Fincher's "Zodiac". Here is an excerpt:

The late 60s and 70s are captured with so much attention to detail that it felt like a form of time-travel to watch events unfold. From Zodiac's second attempt at double-murder on July 4, 1969 (one victim survived), through the early 1990s, every detail of time and place is re-created with immense care. The soundtrack, for instance -- other reviewers have already made note of the clever use of Donovan's "Hurdy-Gurdy Man," and I have to agree. I've always thought the song was pretty creepy-sounding, and the way it weaves into the fabric of this movie is a touch of dramatic genius.

...Zodiac is a very rare kind of movie, in my experience -- a thinking person's crime drama. If only every movie in this genre were so finely wrought.

What sets Huff apart from other reviewers is his level of expertise on the subject of serial killers. He offers great perspective on the movie by giving us background on the books it is based on (excerpt):

Both books, Zodiac and Zodiac Unmasked, ended up being devoted to the idea that Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac. Graysmith fell prey to the amateur sleuth's big bugaboo: forming a theory and then trying to make it fit the facts. Real detectives, with access to as much real evidence as they can collect, are able to -- hopefully -- let the facts, the evidence, dictate the theory of the crime.

Evidence that would have made Leigh Allen a slam-dunk in a court of law for the Zodiac murders simply doesn't seem to exist. No one ever conclusively matched any samples of Allen's handwriting to Zodiac's. Even a relatively uninformed look at samples side by side show almost no commonalities. Fingerprints associated with Zodiac did not match Allen's prints. Ultimately, DNA didn't match. All the evidence that points to Allen being the Zodiac Killer is either hearsay or circumstantial, at best.

...I think Zodiac got away. He either died shortly after the last known letter from him or got put away for another crime entirely. It could be that he basically retired, as Dennis Rader did for many years. The kind of person I think he might have been I will save for another blog entry. Perhaps Zodiac found another route to satisfy his jones for power and control, a route that wouldn't put him on a collision course with the police.

Is he still out there? Anything is possible. Seems like this movie would bring some word from him if he was, though.

Huff continues at length to offer reasons why Allen, who was a convicted pedophile, was probably not the Zodiac killer. Huff's argument is blunt and graphic, and well-informed, and tends to cut through a lot of hype.

Huff's site is Truecrimeblog and his review of "Zodiac" is here. Huff also recommends Tom Voigt's site as an excellent resource for those interested in the case.

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