4.4 15
Director: David Fincher

Cast: David Fincher, Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr.


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The true story behind the murders that many crime scholars believe to be the most perplexing series of unsolved crimes in modern history comes to the screen in chilling detail as Fight Club and Seven director David Fincher steps behind the camera to tell the mysterious tale…  See more details below


The true story behind the murders that many crime scholars believe to be the most perplexing series of unsolved crimes in modern history comes to the screen in chilling detail as Fight Club and Seven director David Fincher steps behind the camera to tell the mysterious tale of the infamous Zodiac killer. A relentless serial killer is stalking the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area, leaving citizens locked into a constant state of panic, and baffled authorities scrambling for clues. Though the killer sadistically mocks the detectives by leaving a series of perplexing ciphers and menacing letters at the crime scenes, the investigation quickly flatlines when none of the evidence yields any solid leads. As two detectives remain steadfast in their devotion to bringing the elusive killer to justice, they soon find that the madman has control not only over their careers, but their very lives as well. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. star.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
The opening sequence of Zodiac -- a man stalking and shooting a couple parked in a lover's lane, all set to the strains of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" -- offers everything people have come to expect from director David Fincher: stylish cinematography, a blast of brutal violence, and editing just unconventional enough to keep the viewer simultaneously disturbed and riveted. The style is very familiar to those who appreciated Seven for its nightmarish neo-noir sensibilities, or Panic Room for its grab-you-by-the-throat-and-never-let-go aesthetic. Unlike those films, however, Zodiac is much more than an exercise in terrorizing the audience; with this opening, Fincher plunges the audience into the emotional state that all of San Francisco experienced during the years the Zodiac Killer menaced the Bay Area. Over the course of the next two and a half hours, he lays out the personal and professional reasons cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), police detective David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo), and newspaper reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) each become involved in the hunt for the killer, all with the efficiency of a Dragnet episode. What elevates Zodiac from a routine police procedural into art is Fincher's ability to make the audience feel what these three men feel in their response to this threat, using their terror as a mere jumping-off point for their psychologically and emotionally complex stories. The straightforward narrative, sculpted by James Vanderbilt from a pair of nonfiction books written by the real Robert Graysmith, follows the textbook of a police procedural film, especially in the way we are largely excluded from the personal lives of both Toschi and his partner Armstrong, played by a pitch-perfect Anthony Edwards. These characters are defined almost exclusively by their ability to solve crimes, and Ruffalo is deft in communicating the gradual erosion of Toschi's self-regard as the case drags on for years and years without a resolution. Never one to play any emotion broadly, Ruffalo might be a perfect actor for Fincher, whose powerful visual style ups the emotional stakes for an audience. During the middle section of the film, when Toschi and Armstrong follow their most promising lead, Fincher tempers the terror with excitement and frustration as the two devoted detectives desperately try every possible avenue to link the suspect to the crimes. On a first viewing, this portion of the movie may feel slack, as if Fincher has lost his command over the narrative. Not until Zodiac is over does the viewer realize how effectively Fincher has manipulated audience expectations, and made them feel as infuriated and exasperated as the protagonists. This is where terror gives way to frustration and dissatisfaction, emotions most directors never consider eliciting from an audience in a conventional serial-killer movie. Gyllenhaal's innately appealing demeanor holds the center of the film. One would be hard-pressed to find a young actor more plausible as a former Eagle Scout, and one can admire the sweeping emotional arc of Fincher's entire film in Graysmith's evolution from a straight-arrow nerd to an obsessed amateur detective. The scope of Fincher's ambitions are enhanced by Gyllenhaal's savvy mix of boyishness and competence, and Graysmith's eager-to-please intelligence finds a natural complement in Downey's Paul Avery, an extroverted reporter threatened directly by the Zodiac. Fincher deftly parallels the desire for recognition that Avery and the killer share, allowing the viewer to feel that the monster they are looking for might be closer than they care to recognize. David Fincher has always possessed a strong sense of film history. The genius of Seven, his other masterpiece, comes in large part from his encyclopedic knowledge of noir tropes. He understands the power that images have, and his films tell us that he likes to show off his knowledge. But Zodiac is the work of a cinematic enfant terrible who has learned there is more to life than movies. There are direct references to Bullitt and Dirty Harry, easily the two most famous films about San Francisco detectives, but these are references made by the characters within the film, not shots stolen by Fincher in order to impress. In these moments, he pointedly expresses that movies are not real life. The film is further grounded in reality by the unobtrusive but flawless art direction and costume design. This is one of the few modern films set in the '70s where the fashion of the times is not made to look ridiculous, but presented as simply the reality of the day. Because the film is grounded in fact, and because he inspires real empathy, Fincher makes his characters more three-dimensional than we expect. It's because of these human connections that Zodiac transcends genre and offers ample proof that David Fincher is well on his way to constructing a body of work worthy of his formidable reputation.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features


Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mark Ruffalo Inspector David Toschi
Jake Gyllenhaal Robert Graysmith
Robert Downey Paul Avery
Anthony Edwards Inspector William Armstrong
Brian Cox Melvin Belli
Charles Fleischer Bob Vaughn
Zach Grenier Mel Nicolai
Philip Baker Hall Sherwood Morrill
Elias Koteas Sgt. Jack Mulanax
John Lacy Zodiac 4
Donal Logue Ken Narlow
John Carroll Lynch Arthur Leigh Allen
Dermot Mulroney Captain Marty Lee
Ed Setrakian Al Hyman
Chloë Sevigny Melanie
John Getz Templeton Peck
John Terry Charles Thieriot
Candy Clark Carol Fisher
Adam Goldberg Duffy Jennings
James LeGros Officer George Bawart
Doan Ly Belli's Housekeeper
Pell James Cecelia Shepherd
Lee Norris Mike Mageau-Young
Bob Stephenson Zodiac 3
Jason Wiles Lab Tech Dagitz
Joel Bissonnette Inspector Kracke
Richmond Arquette Zodiac 1 & 2
Barry Livingston Copyeditor
Clea Duvall Linda del Buono

Technical Credits
David Fincher Director
Anita Brown Costumes/Costume Designer
Inspector William Armstrong Consultant/advisor
Joseph Bates Consultant/advisor
Gretchen Belli Consultant/advisor
Pierre Bidou Consultant/advisor
Dawn Brown-Manser Set Decoration/Design
Donald Graham Burt Production Designer
Russell T. Butterbach Consultant/advisor
Michael Butterfield Consultant/advisor
Inspector Kelly Carroll Consultant/advisor
Ceán Chaffin Producer
Donald Cheney Consultant/advisor
David Collins Consultant/advisor
Captain Roy Conway Consultant/advisor
Kevin Cross Set Decoration/Design
Keith P. Cunningham Art Director
Seargent Don DiStefano Consultant/advisor
George Drakoulias Musical Direction/Supervision
Jim Dunbar Consultant/advisor
Allen Family Consultant/advisor
Belli Family Consultant/advisor
Bradley J. Fischer Producer
Donald Fouke Consultant/advisor
Lori Rowbotham Grant Set Decoration/Design
Aaron Graysmith Consultant/advisor
Margot Graysmith Consultant/advisor
Melanie Graysmith Consultant/advisor
Molly Elizabeth Grundman Costumes/Costume Designer
Benjamin Hartnell Consultant/advisor
Jonathan Hartnell Consultant/advisor
Monica Hartnell Consultant/advisor
Richard Hoffman Consultant/advisor
Pam Huckaby Consultant/advisor
Captain David Jackson Consultant/advisor
Mike Kelleher Consultant/advisor
Ren Klyce Sound/Sound Designer
Drew Kunin Sound/Sound Designer
Richard Lonergan Consultant/advisor
Michael Mageau Consultant/advisor
Kim Marks Camera Operator
Laray Mayfield Casting
Gerald McMenamin Consultant/advisor
Mike Medavoy Producer
Arnie Messer Producer
Jee H. Ok Costumes/Costume Designer
Sandy Panzarella Consultant/advisor
Terrence Pascoe Consultant/advisor
Louis Phillips Executive Producer
Randall Poster Musical Direction/Supervision
Carol Quiroz Costumes/Costume Designer
John Robertson Consultant/advisor
Mike Rodelli Consultant/advisor
Ed Rust Consultant/advisor
Harris Savides Cinematographer
David Shire Score Composer
David Slaight Consultant/advisor
Nancy Slover Consultant/advisor
David Smith Consultant/advisor
Hal Snook Consultant/advisor
Nanci Noblett Starr Art Director
Casey Storm Costumes/Costume Designer
Leo Suennen Consultant/advisor
James Vanderbilt Producer,Screenwriter
Angus Wall Editor
Mary Ellen Woods Asst. Director
Jane Wuu Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Zodiac
1. Chapter 1 [6:18]
2. Chapter 2 [:51]
3. Chapter 3 [7:16]
4. Chapter 4 [:09]
5. Chapter 5 [3:01]
6. Chapter 6 [3:54]
7. Chapter 7 [2:44]
8. Chapter 8 [3:44]
9. Chapter 9 [3:30]
10. Chapter 10 [3:28]
11. Chapter 11 [1:29]
12. Chapter 12 [5:37]
13. Chapter 13 [:07]
14. Chapter 14 [6:25]
15. Chapter 15 [:18]
16. Chapter 16 [6:01]
17. Chapter 17 [1:01]
18. Chapter 18 [4:09]
19. Chapter 19 [2:54]
20. Chapter 20 [2:54]
21. Chapter 21 [4:00]
22. Chapter 22 [1:19]
23. Chapter 23 [5:01]
24. Chapter 24 [:35]
25. Chapter 25 [3:14]
26. Chapter 26 [3:44]
27. Chapter 27 [3:35]
28. Chapter 28 [:02]
29. Chapter 29 [5:12]
30. Chapter 30 [1:49]
31. Chapter 31 [3:06]
32. Chapter 32 [:53]
33. Chapter 33 [5:21]
34. Chapter 34 [1:00]
35. Chapter 35 [6:06]
36. Chapter 36 [:50]
37. Chapter 37 [4:27]
38. Chapter 38 [3:32]
39. Chapter 39 [2:26]
40. Chapter 40 [4:33]
41. Chapter 41 [2:21]
42. Chapter 42 [4:38]
43. Chapter 43 [2:41]
44. Chapter 44 [4:18]
45. Chapter 45 [2:03]
46. Chapter 46 [4:54]
47. Chapter 47 [1:36]
48. Chapter 48 [4:52]
49. Chapter 49 [2:59]
50. Chapter 50 [:08]


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