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Zodiac (2007)

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In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.

Director:

David Fincher

Writers:

James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Robert Graysmith (book)
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Popularity
259 ( 55)
3 wins & 69 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Gyllenhaal ... Robert Graysmith
Mark Ruffalo ... Inspector David Toschi
Anthony Edwards ... Inspector William Armstrong
Robert Downey Jr. ... Paul Avery
Brian Cox ... Melvin Belli
John Carroll Lynch ... Arthur Leigh Allen
Richmond Arquette ... Zodiac 1 / Zodiac 2
Bob Stephenson ... Zodiac 3
John Lacy ... Zodiac 4
Chloë Sevigny ... Melanie
Ed Setrakian ... Al Hyman
John Getz ... Templeton Peck
John Terry ... Charles Thieriot
Candy Clark ... Carol Fisher
Elias Koteas ... Sgt. Jack Mulanax
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Storyline

A serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area taunts police with his letters and cryptic messages. We follow the investigators and reporters in this lightly fictionalized account of the true 1970's case as they search for the murderer, becoming obsessed with the case. Based on Robert Graysmith's book, the movie's focus is the lives and careers of the detectives and newspaper people. Written by tom day

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on the true story of America's most notorious serial killer. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong killings, language, drug material and brief sexual images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chronicles See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,395,610, 4 March 2007

Gross USA:

$33,080,084, 3 May 2007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$84,785,914, 3 May 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real-life, Melvin Belli never touched the Zodiac letter mailed to him. See more »

Goofs

(at around 24 mins) When the Zodiac hails Paul Stine's cab, an illuminated hair salon sign is visible on the other side of the street. However, the reflections seen on the cab's hood and trunk lid are of the modern-day Starbucks Coffee sign at the filming location which was digitally removed in post. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mike Mageau: Where have you been? I've been waiting since 7:00.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening logos for Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. are the ones that were used in the 1970s. See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut contains approximately 5-minutes of new footage including:
  • Melvin Belli (Brian Cox) talks about his Safari trip (when the Zodiac letter came to his house)
  • Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) introduces himself to the Riverside Police Chief
  • New scene between Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Avery (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • 3-Way Conversation laying Leigh as suspect to get search warrant
  • Extended audio montage (over a black screen)
  • Plus extra bits of dialogue
See more »


Soundtracks

Arrivederci, Roma
Written by Renato Rascel (as Renato Ranucci), Sandro Giovannini (as Allessandro Giovannini) and Pietro Garinei
Performed by Mario Lanza
Courtesy of SONY BMG Masterworks/RCA Red Seal/RCA Victor
By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
As interesting and as tedious as a thirty-year unsolved case
1 August 2007 | by NumeroOneSee all my reviews

*This comment may contain spoilers, but I tried to be as vague as possible, and I think that this movie actually improves if you more or less know the ending.*

When David Fincher's ZODIAC opens with the year "1969" on the screen, a colorful wide angle shot of California, and a song from "Hair" on the soundtrack, we think we know what we are in for: an atmospheric historical epic. Then the film's first murder happens, and we are at the San Francisco chronicle with Jake Gyllenhall and Robert Downey, Jr., just recognizable enough under their period garb.

We see three other murders or almost-murders within the first 1 1/2 hours of this 2 1/2 hour movie, and they are terrifying in a way that few movie murders are: this is one of the only movies that succeeds at making you identify with the victims, and the murder scenes contain enough gore to be convincing but not so much gore that it becomes its own aesthetic, as in other Fincher films.

But ZODIAC is so long that eventually, the murders fail to keep our attention. The movie makes so many leaps through time and recounts so many investigations that lead nowhere, it is easy to forget that it began as an exciting movie.

One could easily argue that the movie has a right to be so uneventful because it is a "realistic" reflection of police procedure and of, well, reality. It is, but one can't help but think, With all the time-lapsing that goes on (it constantly jumps months ahead in the late '60s and early '70s, and then jumps from '73 to '77 to '83 to '91), why couldn't it skip more boring parts? The movie manages to be both too truncated and too thorough.

On a positive note, the digital cinematography by Harris Savides gives the film a consistently interesting look, which is something that many better movies don't have. He gives the film the signature "Fincher" look: saturated pastels in the daytime and a vague yellow-green tint at night. The movie is visually interesting without being calling too much attention to itself, but it's a shame that there's not enough to watch. The actors are sufficient, but the movie has no protagonist and we don't get to know anyone well enough - not even Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhall), who becomes the de facto main character half way through.

The friendship between Graysmith and Paul Avery (Robert Downey, Jr.) - particularly a bar scene in which Graysmith introduces Avery to the merits of girly drinks - is interesting enough, but when Avery ceases to be a major character, we don't get enough of an indication that Graysmith has a life outside of his obsession with the Zodiac case. That may have been the point, but it doesn't work: there is nothing wrong with a plot that goes nowhere if the characters manage to hold our interest, but they don't hold our interest for all 2 1/2 hours, and the movie itself seems to lose interest in Graysmith towards the end. ZODIAC has no pay-off, which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't such a plot-driven film.

Still, it has its moments that nearly redeem it. It's a bit like a friend who tells long and meandering but enthusiastic stories: once you realize that his stories will always be too long, you can focus on the better parts. But his stories are still too long.


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