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Zodiac - The Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special

A movie directed by David Fincher

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Two decades in the life

  • Nov 16, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4
I watched a film today, oh boy
About a quiet man who wrote a book
And though the book did rather well
No one had time for laughs
They saw the photographs
Of people shot dead in their cars
They didn't know at first the killer's name
A group of letters soon appeared
He said he'd killed them all
Nobody was really sure if he was just leading them on

I saw a film today, oh boy
About a killer named the Zodiac
And though the film was rather sad
Well I just had to look
Having missed the book
It really was quite long

(to the tune of "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles)

First of all, this movie is more like a crime documentary, focusing mainly on the tedious and labor intensive background work that went into the investigation of the murders that took place in the San Francisco Bay area in the sixties. From the title, you already know that the killer is the infamous (and so far unidentified) Zodiac, and because the case is still unsolved, the ending is understandably vague.

The next thing you should know is that it's a long movie that takes you step by step through the case from the shooting of Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau to the publication of Robert Graysmith's first book of the same name.

It very effectively chronicles the personal and career upheavals of the main characters, especially the fixation of Graysmith (Sensitive guy Jake Gyllenhaal who's no stranger to obsessive roles), the dedication of Inspector David Toschi (a rumpled looking Mark Ruffalo) and the unpredictability of crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jnr. doing what he does best).

At some points you can almost hear Graysmith's torment - "I wish I knew how to quit you Zodiac killer" - and at these moments you'll wish for Lilly Rush and the Cold Case team to come in and solve it once and for all. Recommended for people into true crime stories, but for obvious reasons you won't learn much more about Zodiac that you already know.






Amanda Richards

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More Zodiac (2007) reviews
review by . November 06, 2010
Zodiac – A killer undetermined yet we feel so satisfied
4 Stars out of 4      David Fincher's Zodiac is not about a killer but what surrounds a killer. Most of the film is addressed through nuanced, subtle, and ponderous banter about characters trying to connect-the-dots but always drawing square circles. The Zodiac Killer was a tease; he got what he wanted - infamy, power, and control - and regardless of his motives, he got away with his killings. Zodiac, therefore, punishes our expectations: we sit through this almost …
review by . March 16, 2011
I will probably get excessively noogied over the internet for saying this, but I didn't think Zodiac was all that great a movie. I tried really hard to like it, but I just didn't like it as much as I was assured I would. Don't get me wrong, I still liked it a bit, I just don't think it's worth all the eighties and nineties it's been getting on RT. I knew absolutely nothing about the case of the Zodiac Killer before viewing this film, but I found the case to be quite interesting …
review by . April 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: great pacing, good acting ensemble     Cons: none for me     The Bottom Line:   “We Shall Fear Nothing  Demand The Impossible  Dream Your Destiny  Defy The Logic Of Alphabets  I Slayed The King Of The Wolves  Nothing Is Impossible”  ~Wolfchild Speech     This was kind of like sending Clark Kent, without his alter ego, off to fight evildoers. You couldn’t …
review by . July 10, 2008
The SF Chronicle reported that DNA from saliva under a postage stamp has cleared Arthur Leigh Allen, the favorite suspect in San Francisco's most celebrated serial murder mystery. Artie Allen may or may not be gratified - he died, after all, twelve years ago - but I find the news disquieting. Though there's no reason for the cops to have my DNA on file, I've long been expecting suspicion to shine my way. The profile fits. I moved to the Bay Area in 1968, in time for the first killing at the pumping …
review by . January 09, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
ZODIAC is director David Fincher's finest film to date. All of the preparatory exercises in violence and horror he served so well in such films as FIGHT CLUB and SEVEN now are even more terrifying because of the manner in which he internalizes the events of the infamous Zodiac killer of the 1960s and 1970s and allows us to see how the murders and lack of proof of the perpetrator destroyed the personal lives of those bound to reveal Zodiac's identity. The story of course is true, as documented in …
review by . August 06, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Mood and cinematography      Cons: Weak story that went on for far too long      The Bottom Line: I like Fincher and his mood-making is good here, but it is the only thing, so I cannot recommend it.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.      David Fincher is in my relatively short list of favorite directors despite his rather small list of films to date. He is a …
review by . July 26, 2007
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 …
review by . July 24, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
There's nothing quite like a mystery. Lately, we have gotten a lot of films involving investigative puzzles. (`The Davinci Code,' `Inside Man,' and `National Treasure,' come to mind.) Such is the case with `Zodiac,' except this film is a true-to-life crime story about a serial killer who stalked victims in Vallejo and San Francisco, CA starting in 1969. It was unprecedented at the time because the police success rate was good until then, and the "Summer of Love" was a not-too-distant memory. Gripping …
About the reviewer
Amanda Richards ()
Ranked #41
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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Closer in spirit to a police procedural than a gory serial-killer flick, David Fincher'sZodiacprovides a sleek, armrest-gripping re-invention of the crime film. It surveys the investigation of the Zodiac killings that terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late -60-early -70s; Zodiac not only killed people, but cultivated a Jack the Ripper aura by sending icky letters to the newspapers and daring readers to solve coded messages. But the film's focus isn't on the killer. We follow the reporters and detectives whose lives are taken over by the case, notably an addictive crime writer (a sartorially splendid Robert Downey Jr.), an awkward editorial cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal), and a hard-working cop (Mark Ruffalo). Fincher and his brilliant cinematographer Harris Savides are deft at capturing the period feel of the city, without laying on the seventies kitsch, and James Vanderbilt's script doles out its big moments to major and minor characters alike. Fincher's confidence is infectious; the movie glides through its myriad details with such dexterity that even the blind alleys and red herrings seem essential. The well-chosen cast includes unexpected people popping up all over: Anthony Edwards as a lunch-bucket homicide cop; Charles Fleischer as a mysterious suspect; Elias Koteas and Donal Logue as small-town policemen whose districts are hit by Zodiac; Chloe Sevigny as Gyllenhaal's sweet-natured wife; Brian Cox as the media-friendly lawyer Melvin ...
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Details

Director: David Fincher
DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
Runtime: 157 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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