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“There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer.”

Movie: Zodiac


Rating: Rated r

Director: David Fincher

Release Date: March 2, 2007

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and Anthony Edwards

The director of Se7en, Fight Club and Panic Room, hits the screen again with the criminal thriller Zodiac. Fincher goes in a different direction from his usual stories, however, but still gives you an intriguing film that is a hell of a lot better then most.

Zodiac tells the story of the famous investigation of the “Zodiac Killer” that terrorized the San Francisco area during the late 60s and early 70s. This murderer was credited with seven victims, two of which survived. Several more crimes were believed to be committed by this man, but evidence was lacking on those cases and could not be connected.

The first portion of this film focuses around the active investigation of Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo), while the second part follows the obsession of a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist named Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal). While both parts were well done, and convincing, my favorite of the two would have to be the obsession of Robert. I feel this is where the heart of the movie lies, in the extreme nature of Robert’s quest for the truth.

Robert Graysmith and David Toschi
Jake Gyllenhaal did a wonderful job of conveying Robert’s obsession of the “Zodiac Killer.” We first see his character as a bystander that takes an interest in the mayhem and eventually forms a nervous concern for his children’s safety. When Robert becomes more intertwined with the case, the real beauty of the film shines. His commitment to solving the crime is eerie, convincing, and downright understandable. The scene where Robert tells his wife that he just “has to know,” gave me a serious case of goose flesh. It showed that there is more then one way to lose your life to a murderer and Robert is a fine example. Throughout the last half of the film, I totally sympathized with his dire need to solve the crime and put the case to rest.

My favorite character, however, was the San Francisco Chronicle journalist named Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.). He plays a minor role in the first part of the film but, I loved every second that Robert was on-screen. He did a wonderful job of making his character hilarious, cocky and eventually, desperate.

As for Fincher, he is a directing god and it shows. He is known for his amazing talent and this is no exception. The atmosphere of the film is a perfect recreation of the time period and it feels like you are actually there trying to solve the murder. His method of directing was different from his past motion pictures because he made this one straight forward and simple. Thankfully, it doesn’t take away from the movie at all.

Zodiac is an unconventional thriller because not only do we know the outcome, but it does not rack our nerves with gruesome scenes or scary twists. The director and cast keep us on the edge of our seat with a story of facts and reality which might very well bore some fans of the genre. The movie is still an amazing piece of cinema and should be seen by extreme movie buffs and casual people alike. It is exciting to see that Fincher is still making amazing features to satisfy our eyes and movie taste buds.