One of the best elements of Zodiac is the way it paints the complex portrait of the cluster of information and suspects that comes from a killer such as the Zodiac who purposefully plays with the media and public. This leads the investigators with many shady figures who do not necessarily even have anything to do with the killings. One of these men eventually seems particularly promising since a former acquaintance says that the man essentially spelled out his psychotic plan to him. The man being one Arthur Leigh Allen played by John Carroll Lynch. Lynch only has three scenes, two of them being silent and quiet brief. His first appearance though is an extended interview with the leading investigators. Lynch lumbers into the scene as he walks in and sees the three detectives he seems to give an accusatory glance to his employer who's brought him to the meeting just before he sits down to the detectives. As he's put before the men though Lynch falsifies a cordial enough expression as though Arthur's not at all shaken by this meeting, even though it's whether or not to determine that he's a possible serial killer.
Lynch is brilliant in the way he articulates Arthur's attempt to deal with the cops questions. There's a slight attempt to be like just as scared as anyone else in regards to the case, and disgusted just as much as any normal person would be. All while doing this though Lynch portrays Arthur as being excessively assured in the way he speaks to the police about how he did not have anything to do it. Lynch delivers every line as though it has been rehearsed a thousand times in Arthur's mind as he basically lists every reason why he's innocent without stumbling once. Lynch is outstanding because he shows how this over confidence suggests anything but an innocence as every detail seems to come out as about as eloquent as it can be. It is almost he's listing important information to them as Lynch shows just how natural it is for Arthur to bring up an incriminating fact, that involving bloodied knives, because it's already attached to part of his presentation of innocence, therefore no time should be spent avoiding this. Lynch never loses a step when Arthur is giving his "prepared" remarks and interestingly shows just how damning such certainty can be.
What's so fascinating about Lynch's performance is the way he conveys the apparent layers of the man as the interview goes forward. Through much of it Lynch keeps that kinda modest way about himself as though he's just a gentle man trying to live his life in a normal enough way. When the questions from the detectives become incisive at all though Lynch pulls back monetarily as though he's adjusting a bit and reveals a certain darkness below the surface fitting for the pedophile that he is. Although that does not mean he's a serial killer who takes as much time for detail as the Zodiac. When they bring up his crime as a pedophile though this seems to take more than a simple rearrangement of feelings. It's one of the most memorable moments in the film even though it only lasts a few seconds as Arthur tells them "I am not the Zodiac. And if I were, I certainly wouldn't tell you.". Although he's stating his innocence the way Lynch looks at them is unnerving as in his eyes and voice suddenly become that of such a killer. Just before he leaves though Arthur comments on how he would like to see cops no longer called pigs, a favored term by the Zodiac, Lynch delivers this with such duplicity. Even though he still stays quiet, as though it is pleasantry, there is such a sinister quality in how false Lynch makes it so sound, as though he's purposefully taunting the police. Lynch's next scene is merely from his back, and only a few seconds long, as Arthur arrives to find the police searching his trailer. After that he only has one more near the end of the film when Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) political cartoonist turned obsessed private investigator goes to look him in the eye, as he's sure Arthur's the one. Again it's only a few seconds long but Lynch is once again brilliant as he begins just with kind smile asking if Robert needs any help, When he recognizes him though Lynch is absolutely chilling as his face slowly changes into the Zodiac once more. This is an oustanding piece of work by John Carroll Lynch as he creates such a complex and disturbing depiction of this man in only a few minutes of screentime.