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Average review score based on 49 user reviews
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"Zodiac" is a terrific thriller! It reinvents one of the most overused subgenre in all of American Cinema, the serial-killer. It does so not through overly obvious technique or even radical story innovations; but through subtle adjustments in perspective. Shifting the focus from the serial killer's methods and moral impulses (the approach taken by "Saw", "Se7en", etc.) and toward the tools used by reporters and cops tracking the murderer.
This moves "Zodiac" evolves another familiar genre; Police Procedure. Yet Fincher and screenwriter James Vanderbilt show so much disregard for Cop Movie conventions that their film ends up having more in common with "All the President's Men" than "Dirty Harry" — (even though "Dirty Harry" was based on the real 'Zodiac' case.)
The "Zodiac" Case made national headlines, partly due to the elusiveness of the killer and partly thanks to his method of making himself famous. Starting in 1969, the "Zodiac" wrote letters to San Francisco newspapers detailing his crimes, which consisted of random murders of apparently unconnected victims. The newspaper coverage made him famous, and inspired one of the case's most persistent investigators: Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist who became so obsessed with the case that he let it decimate his marriage while he followed leads for years. Graysmith's amateur sleuthing is just one thread of the story.
Fincher's drama follows not only the cartoonist but also crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), and Cops Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards). All four of these characters' stories intersect at various points in the film; but they also inspire subplots of their own that accumulate to create a vivid tapestry of 1970's America. Like the best of Scorsese, "Zodiac" succeeds both as a sweeping pop epic and an intimate character study. Even peripheral characters, such as a man who escapes the "Zodiac's" clutches, or a creepy movie nut who may have a link to the killer, have fully realized personas — they're better defined than the leads in most movies. And the leads here are riveting.
The Ruffalo, Downey, and Gyllenhaal characters are all strong enough to carry their own films, but joining their stories allows Fincher to make one of the best movies ever made about the ambivalent relationship between Law Enforcement and the Press.
"Zodiac" concentrates primarily on Graysmith's investigation, moving back and forth between storylines with great ease and clarity. The elegant story construction and Fincher's visual flair keep it from ever becoming static.
The movie is aggressively realistic, abandoning the logical, interlocking structure of most murder mysteries for a plot in which clues contradict each other, fail to connect, and sometimes just get forgotten about in the chaos that is Police Work.
If there's a dominant emotion; it's frustration; characters continually get close to the "Zodiac" killer, only to see the case evaporate before their eyes. "Zodiac" therefore becomes a film about smart, competent men failing — a topic that would have been somewhat acceptable in a prior era; yet feels almost revolutionary in 2007 Hollywood. Fincher manages to convey that sensibility, while placing it in the context of a compelling and fast-paced piece of entertainment.
2007: Zodiac Case to date...."UNSOLVED"
SEE THIS !!!! Won't disappoint !!!!
Zodiac DVD starts killing of couple teens. San Francisco investigators start hunting for the killer. Clues offer nothing but ciphers and letters, those letter codes are left by the killer by using both hands to throw off cops. Long ahead start breaking down four cops, sexual images, drugs, killing extremes & language should be your first clue that this isn't a film for young child viewers.
Jake Gyllenhaal----- Mark Ruffalo----- Robert Downey, Jr.----- Anthony Edwards----- Brian Cox----- Elias Koteas----- Donal Logue----- John Carroll Lynch----- Dermot Mulroney.
Zodiac killer uses cat & mouse game with investigators leaving unparallel exposure to everyone. Zodiac Killer is anonymous, silent and intelligent, he never left weapons, finger prints or clues to his engagement to all pure evil killings. Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), Mark Ruffalo (Toschi) are struck on the complexity with quick killings to come.
This films unclear plots, 9 mm Luger, catch me if you can, behavioral profiling, 1969 San Francisco, serial killer stalker, prolific details all come in place on films adaptation.
Zodiac's slow pickup middle rated 4****. Full screen, color, 100 minute DVD.
This "Director's Cut" of the magnificent crime procedural "Zodiac" by David Fincher honors just how this chilling, frightenly detailed expository on the serial killings which cover several decades was made. The film itself has perhaps five minutes added to its length, but most of that is extended scenes that were already in the original. The balance of addition is a long music score (while the screen is blank) where music from the periods move from mono to stereo to 5.1 sound to show the development of the audio industry during the period of the film. Interesting, but it adds nothing to the story. However, the Director's commentary of the making of the film and why he was drawn to the material is as intriguing as the drama. I couldn't stick through the second, and silly, commentary by some of the actors. The second disk however is as valuable as the film itself. Not only does it bring additional facts and characters to the drama through several documentaries, but the sections on the amazing use of the Viper digital camera used in this film is about as mind-blowing as the period of 1970's in San Francisco. If you love how films are made, don't miss this. If you love mystery and detective stories, don't miss this.
This movie is great for the true crime buff. This movie is as engaging as Graysmith's books. There are some very very scary scenes as well. It really tells the story of the Zodiac killer's reign of terror in various parts of California in a connect the dots, well executed way. One of the major problems in solving the murders of the Zodiac is that there are so many police departments and jurisdictions involved. The different counties' levels of cooperation is uneasy at best. A lot of the evidence is hearsay or circumstantial and they keep running into dead ends. If you are familiar with the "feel" of the early days of San Francisco in the 1960's through about the 1970's and 1980's or so you will surely be impressed with the beautiful San Francisco photography, street layouts, sets that don't look like sets, costuming and etc. You really get the whole 9 yards with this movie! Terrific! The documentary style interviews with the actual people involved at the time really puts things into perspective and is what the 2007 version of this movie is lacking. This is not a children's movie. Many of the scenes are disturbing and there is a vicious level of violence involved.
This film features excellent performances by Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Paul Downey, Jr. and the beguiling Jake Gyllenhaal. The film is two and a half hours long, but the pacing is first-rate, the dialogue crisp and cogent, the few moments of violence appropriately graphic and unsettling.
There was another film made around the same time on the same topic. This one is far better.
The story attests most of all to the tenacity of one character who will not throw in the towel on this mystery fter everyone else has moved on.
It is based on a true and brutal story.