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4.4 15
Director: David Fincher

Cast: 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


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:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption

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]
5. Chapter 5 [3:01]
4. Chapter 4 [:09]
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]


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Zodiac 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Fincher knows how to go straight to the bone, whether that be by grisly effects or wearing down the psyches of his audience. In ZODIAC he traces the very long investigation of the serial killer in the 1960s and 1970s in the San Francisco area who was never found and has managed to mimic that interminably long yet fascinating exploration by taking close to 3 hours to unravel the bits and pieces of evidence that were to confound the police and the press alike. Based on the book by Robert Graysmith (the SF Chronicle cartoonist who became obsessed with the conundrum of the murders) and adapted for the screen by James Vanderbilt, ZODIAC holds the viewers' attention by its smart, edge of the seat development of what could easily been a too-long-song of a docudrama. Much of the success of the film is due to Fincher's pacing and yet a great deal of the credibility of the story falls in the capable hands of a very fine cast. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays the obsessed Graysmith, a man whose life as a cartoonist for the newspaper and as a husband to Melanie (Chloë Sevigny) and father to three children is gradually broken by his preoccupation with finding the serial killer named Zodiac. He is well supported by Mark Ruffalo as Inspector David Toschi and Anthony Edwards as Inspector William Armstrong, Robert Downey as the alcoholic reporter James Avery, Brian Cox as Melvin Belli, and Elias Koteas, John Carroll Lynch and others in brief but very important cameo roles. For some the film may feel like a long frustrating bore, but magnify that by the real life situation the Zodiac killer created over extended years and the frustration of the forces who wouldn't let the case die will be realized. Obsession such as this takes patience. The payoff is well worth it. Grady Harp
GinaK More than 1 year ago
A beautifully detailed film about the frustrating search for the elusive Zodiac killer. The acting is wonderful, especially by Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo. Both the director David Fincher and the actors keep you interested during every twist and turn in the story, yet there is a haunting sense of mystery and dark madness throughout. The commentary by Fincher is interesting, but sometimes goes off the track. But you can always turn it off and go back to the film and let Fincher's wonderful work speak for itself.
ShakespeareInLove More than 1 year ago
This movie had me glued to every second of it!! Did not want to be disturbed in any way. I watched it several times to sink in all the details, follows the book closely. The cast of characters fit each character to a T. The Music Soundtrack, brought every detail to life also. Very graphic, but outstanding!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this movie david fincher does another fine job with the direction and suspense with some twists and turn about the investigation into murders by an unseen killer. I can see how some people thought the movie "was a bit long" and "was well acted." A new favorite next to panic room and se7en.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An underrated masterpiece. Reminded me of other "deliberately paced" movies of the 70s(the setting) like All the Presidents Men. Some found Zodiac "long" or "boring", but these reviews miss the point of the film or misunderstood what they were getting into. Some thought they were seeing a serial killer movie when they were actually watching a film about obsession. The details of the film, just like the Zodiac case itself, are the most fascinating.
AJG More than 1 year ago
Of the people I know who've seen this movie, the number one complaint I hear about it is that it's too long, and it moves too slow. To me, that's nothing to complain about. True, Zodiac moves along at a slower pace than most thrillers, but that's what makes it unique. The film moves along at a deliberately slower-than-normal pace in order to gradually allow you to develop the same emotions the characters in the film are feeling: frustration, desperation, hopelessness, and fear. By the end of the film, you're as frustrated with the fact that the Zodiac hasn't been caught as everyone who was trying to catch him, and that's part of the beauty of this film. The actors give subtle yet authentic performances, particularly Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, and Fincher's direction is, as always, deliberate and excellent. If you haven't seen this movie, see it, and if you have, give it another chance.
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