Crime / Drama


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August 8, 2011 at 12:34 am



Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith
Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery
Mark Ruffalo as Inspector David Toschi
Anthony Edwards as Inspector William Armstrong
694.17 MB
23.976 fps
2hr 37 min
P/S 52 / 383

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rs25 8 / 10

Fincher's best? No. But still very good

I am tired of people writing comments like this, "Not Fincher's best". Honestly who cares. We all agree that Fincher's best is either Seven or Fight Club, two outstanding masterpieces. There is a big margin between a film like one of those and a terrible film, and people don't seem to realize that. These people even do this with other filmmakers like Spielberg or Scorsese, the fact that these filmmakers don't reproduce Schindler's List or Raging Bull doesn't mean that their new stuff isn't good, or worth seeing. I think it is a stupid way to comment on a film, eliminating the critic's credibility. I was lucky enough to catch an advanced screening of Zodiac last night, and I must say that at first I was discouraged by two things, some of the comments I have read and the running time. However I am glad to say that I enjoyed this film, very much. It is a solid suspense thriller that pins you to your seat. Being a true story adds quite a lot to the experience, and besides, Fincher did a wonderful job is staying loyal to the story and at the same time adding his unique flavor to it. The cinematography, like every Fincher film, is great, the darkness and griddiness of the story are perfectly portrayed in the film's visual elements. I was surprised by the picture quality of the Viper, the digital camera with which this film was shot. Many people have been criticizing this choice, but I respect it, he is embracing a new technology and making it work. Of course its still not a match to 35 mm, but if quality filmmakers don't start experimenting with it, it will never be. Now the reason why this film falls behind Seven and Fight Club, I think, is because of a problem with the characters. They seem to be a little weak at times. The performances were great, especially Robert Downey Jr., but I think that this film falls short, when it comes to a true exploration of complex characters, which is the key to Fincher's previous films.

So... my advice to everyone is to ignore most of the negative comments and see the film yourself. I found it to be a great story told in a remarkable way, very entertaining, with great performances, and wonderful direction.

Reviewed by (themoviemark@themoviemark.com) 9 / 10

The fear of the real and the unknown...

Dark. Moody. Atmospheric. All words to describe a candlelight dinner with Johnny Betts. But these words can also be used to accurately describe David Fincher's latest foray into the serial killer genre.

Zodiac has been on my "most anticipated" list for quite some time, but having watched many documentaries and read several articles on the subject, I couldn't help but wonder how the film could completely keep my interest when I already knew so much about the material. Plus, we're all aware that the case officially remains unresolved, so are we to resign ourselves to accept an unsatisfactory conclusion?

It took no more than the film's chilling opening scene to cast my fears aside and glue me to the seat for 158 minutes. My familiarity with the source material actually heightened my enjoyment because I was surprised at how accurately the film depicted the events. I recognized names and details that I wouldn't have otherwise.

I also feel that not definitively knowing the Zodiac's identity adds more suspense to the story. We're introduced to a number of suspects, and since this is, in part, one man's interpretation of circumstantial evidence, we're allowed to assume that any of the suspects could be the mysterious killer. It's a plot device that effectively keeps the viewer in a constant state of unease.

I know there are multiple theories on the Zodiac's identity, so you can argue that the film ends on an anticlimactic note. But the movie does have focus, and it presents a compelling case against one of the suspects in such a way that it delivers as much closure as you can expect.

The actors are great (especially Downey and his welcome comic relief), the atmosphere is foreboding, and the investigative process is engaging. It may run a little long for some, but I didn't mind the runtime at all. It's a fascinating case, and I wanted all the information the movie was willing to give me.

Zodiac is the kind of film that sticks with you. I was at a friend's house late after the screening, and when I arrived home I saw a lone car's headlights appear from up the street. My heart began to race a little as I hastened to my door. I knew then and there that a new Zodiac killer was in the vicinity, and I had no time to tarry.

It's been a while since a movie instilled that sort of realistic dread, and I don't know if that's a good thing, but it's certainly a sign (no pun intended) of the film's success in heightening our awareness of what kind of real-life monsters might be lurking in the shadows.


Zodiac gives viewers an excellent combination of nerve-racking suspense and desperately obsessed police procedural work. The majority of viewers with even the slightest interest in the case should be riveted. Those of you with a severely small attention span should probably stick to Norbit instead.

Reviewed by evanston_dad 9 / 10

Not Your Average Serial Killer Movie (And That's a Good Thing)

"Zodiac" may frustrate viewers who come to David Fincher's latest film expecting a traditional serial killer thriller. The film begins with a couple of hair-raising and rather brutal recreations of murders carried out by the mysterious killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These early scenes are shocking and, compared to the rest of the film, disorienting, because they offer the only time that we come close to seeing events from the killer's perspective. As the film progresses, the Zodiac killer himself fades into the background, and the movie turns into a meticulous and engrossing document of the investigation to track him down, an investigation that includes countless blind alleys and false clues and which to this day has not reached a conclusion. I would be more prone to label the somewhat rambling screenplay as sloppy storytelling if I did not feel that Fincher tells the story exactly as he wants to. The elusive narrative works, because the film is about an elusive villain.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist working for the "San Francisco Chronicle" at the time the Zodiac killer began his gruesome work. He becomes fascinated by the case, and takes it on as a sort of morbid personal hobby long after the police department has given it up as a lost cause. Graysmith eventually wrote the book on which this film is based, and according to his accounts, he discovered enough evidence about one of the suspects in the case to put the police back on his trail years after he'd been cleared for lack of evidence. Other characters come and go. Robert Downey, Jr. does characteristically terrific work as a reporter at the "Chronicle" who grabs his own portion of notoriety through his involvement in the case. Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards play the two detectives in charge of the investigation. Chloe Sevigny plays Gyllenhaal's put-upon wife, who gradually loses her husband to his obsession. All of the actors deliver thrilling performances, many of them against the odds. Since this isn't a character driven movie, many of the characters remain undeveloped, but not, for once, to the detriment of the film. This story isn't about the people involved, but rather about their role in the Zodiac saga; once they've served their purpose, Fincher dispenses with them. Ironically, a film that clocks in at nearly 3 hours exhibits a great deal of narrative economy.

Parts of "Zodiac" are intensely creepy. Fincher effectively uses the rainy San Francisco atmosphere to its maximum potential, and the grimy browns and grays of the production design call to mind Fincher's other well-known films, like "Seven" and "Fight Club." But "Zodiac" is much more grown up than those films, and for an audience to enjoy it, it has to have an attention span. Long scenes are given to analyzing handwriting samples, recreating the scenes of murders, digging through newspaper clippings and files. You can tell that Fincher is fascinated by police work in the pre-CSI era, when fax machines were still a novel invention. He delves into the investigative process with a nearly fetishistic attention to detail, but he makes all of it endlessly mesmerizing. He does his best to bring everything to some sort of conclusion, but the real-life end to the story makes a complete conclusion impossible. This film is more about the journey than the destination, and what a journey it is.

Grade: A

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