2007-08-20 12:22
What it’s about:

Based on the true story of a serial killer who terrified the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhall) is a nerdy cartoonist working at one of the papers which received a letter from the “Zodiac” killer, containing a coded clue to his identity. Graysmith becomes obsessed with the case, along with columnist Paul Avery (Robert Downey jnr) and police detectives David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards).

What we thought of it:

Zodiac will probably be remembered as the Jackie Brown in David Fincher’s body of work, and it shares many superficial similarities with that film. It is far more thoughtful and plot driven than Fight Club and Se7en, and the violence is more understated. The slick editing and attention to detail are still there though, but this time they are set in the 1970s, excellently recaptured by Fincher, with authentic costumes, hairstyles, and a nostalgia-inducing soundtrack.

With a running time just shy of 3 hours, it’s lucky that Zodiac is such a compelling story, with plenty of intriguing details and subplots that really immerse the viewer in Fincher’s ‘70s San Fransisco. The character performances are excellent, and it is through the eyes of Robert Graysmith, Paul Avery, and David Toschi that we watch the events unfold into a citywide wave of paranoia.

Robert Downey jnr and Jake Gyllenhall are particularly entertaining together, playing off the heavy drinking and sarcastic yet charming Avery against the nervous, geeky Graysmith. There are some fantastic scenes of Avery’s amazement at Graysmith’s code cracking skills, and his theories about the identity of the killer. The sinister air of mystery that kept these men obsessed with this case for years also keeps us hooked for the duration of the film.

Since it is the true story of an officially unsolved case, you may think that Zodiac ends without closure, but it gives plenty of reasons (as posited by Graysmith) why a certain suspect is the main one, and manages to wrap the story up without becoming formulaic.

Zodiac is intensely detailed, and demands your attention to be thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a long and complex film which is probably best avoided if you are looking for lightweight escapism. But if you are in the mood for something to sink into and mull over long after you’ve left the cinema, then it is for you. With an excellent cast, fascinating story, and a great atmosphere, Zodiac is another gem in David Fincher’s body of work.

- Ivan Sadler
David Fincher’s finely crafted new thriller is as engrossing as the real-life mystery it is based on.

Mindlo 2008/07/10 7:11 PM
Thriller As a fan of all things gangster and thrilling, its good that the dude never gets caught, but everyone with half a mind will put their money on that Leigh fella, but i think he did not commit all of them. As for the film itself, its super and fascinating to the clsong credits
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