6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fincher's Best
The director is David Fincher (who was responsible for the over-rated but undeniably fascinating 'Fight Club,' and other distractingly fast-paced thrillers like 'Se7en,' 'Panic Room,' and 'The Game'). Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey jr play journalists obsessed with catching the killer, and the always-wonderful Mark Ruffalo is the detective in charge of the case. The...
Published on Dec 29 2007 by Matthew Wilkinson
2.0 out of 5 stars I am the Zodiac
Lately I've been on a bit of a serial killer spree, checking out movies about/based on real-life serial killers and the times they were active.
So I was fully expecting to be blown away by "Zodiac," David Fincher's account of the Zodiac Killer (whom I had never heard of before). But Fincher's talents are drowned in a sea of minutial facts here, leading...
Published 9 months ago by E. A Solinas
Most Helpful First | Newest First
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fincher's Best,
This review is from: Zodiac: The Director's Cut (DVD)
The director is David Fincher (who was responsible for the over-rated but undeniably fascinating 'Fight Club,' and other distractingly fast-paced thrillers like 'Se7en,' 'Panic Room,' and 'The Game'). Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey jr play journalists obsessed with catching the killer, and the always-wonderful Mark Ruffalo is the detective in charge of the case. The film wears its influences on its sleeve. 70's thrillers like 'All the President's Men,' and 'The Conversation' are evident in every frame (David Shire, 'The Conversation' composer was even hired to do the music). However, unlike most homages, this film is entirely worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the pictures that inspired it. I'm not kidding; 'Zodiac' is in the same league as 'The Conversation.'
I was so delighted by this movie. Unlike Fincher's previous efforts, 'Zodiac' is very slow-paced, and quite long (almost three hours); it is careful, deliberate, and intelligent. The cinematography is wonderful. The acting is all pitch-perfect. It is an almost flawless piece of cinema.
What really elevated the film into greatness for me was how ethical it dared to be (in other words, how out of step it is with the current moral zeitgeist in America). First, it manages to tell this gruesome story with a surprising amount of restraint. But more importantly, it tells the story of detectives who value due process and the rule of law; without ever falling prey to apologetic left-wing cowardice. It tells the story of men who are strong, but not macho. It was such a relief to see reason and integrity, rather than brute force and simplistic morality, in an American thriller; and as a cinephile with a weak spot for all things slow-paced, I was in heaven watching the plot unfurl with so much grace and control. The editing was masterful.
Zodiac is the best thriller in recent years.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warner took over Paramount's loss.,
A few weeks back, the only way you could buy Zodiac on blu-ray was by laying down an easy $70 for Paramount's 2009 out of print edition. Now, thanks to Warner, the film's back on shelves with a much lower price tag. Co-productions sometimes work great and this is the case here. Do not fear of finding a different cover than before, Warner only re-printed the exact same set and the only real difference is a sticker on the plastic sleeve over the bar code.
The film itself is a masterpiece. It's a superb analysis of obsession in just about every character the picture finds, times passing by and much more themes than can be listed. Jake Gylenhaal is a wonderful actor cast as the Zodiac-obsessed cartoonist Robert Graysmith, surrounded by top-talents of Robert Downey Jr., Mark Rufallo, Brian Cox, Chloë Sevigny and more. The film itself takes its time to explore the true events and Fincher's eye for detail (visual AND narrative) makes for a very eerie film. So much so that I suspect even the actual survivors may have a hard time watching it. After Seven, The Game and Fight Club, you can finally add Zodiac on your blu-ray shelf without killing your wallet first.
In terms of audio and video qualities, the main soundtrack seems a bit dull, the only real flat point on this edition. Background action sometimes overwhelms the characters speaking, which is the main problem here. As far as video presentation is concerned, it was flawless even for a 2007 film. The colors, textures and many details are spotless, even though I'm far from a professional, it suited my tastes from frame 1 to final credits.
Special features, here we go: Warner thought it good to include ALL of the second disc again, which is another good idea. You will find two commentary tracks on disc 1, but disc 2 contains the meat of the supplements:
- Zodiac Deciphered: making the film (approx. 55 minutes) HD
- Visual FX of Zodiac (approx. 15 minutes) HD
- This is the Zodiac Speaking: documentary on the actual events (102 minutes) HD
- His name was Arthur Leigh Allen (approx. 42 minutes) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (2'33'') HD
All features showing HD means it's in high definition.
It would be hard to ask for more complete or better special features and this edition doesn't disappoint in any regards.
For such a bargain price, Zodiac is now a film you can add with confidence to your library. No longer out of print, you can stop looking for over-priced items on eBay or on Amazon and thank Warner for their very intelligent move. I didn't regret it so far.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Men, One Obsession: Who is the Zodiac?,
On December 20th, 1968, Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau are shot. Darlene dies and Mike lives. Seven months later, the San Francisco Chronicle receives a letter in which the writer claims he is Darlene's killer and intends to kill again. This letter would not only terrify the public, but would start an obsession for four men. This obsession would ruin marriages and careers. For the next two decades, these four men were fixated on one question, one that would never be completely answered, a question that may, within itself, be just as dangerous as finding the answer: Who is the Zodiac?
Zodiac is a superb film that is as realistic and authentic as a film based on actual events film can be. It is filled with characters who can only be inspired by actual people. The film boasts an excellent cast, with every actor contributing scintillating performances. Robert Downey, Jr., is charismatic and quirky as Paul Avery, bringing this character to life, as the audience witnesses his descent from a funny and brilliant ace reporter to a practically unemployable alcoholic. Anthony Edwards is pensive and understated as the cop who cannot handle the pressure of an unsolved case. Mark Ruffalo's Detective Dave Toschi is a determined and streetwise cop whose frustration almost consumes him, as each lead produces insufficient evidence to charge a suspect. Finally, Jake Gyllenhaal's Robert Graysmith is funny and heartwarming as the cartoonist-turned-amateur-sleuth, who comes the closest to solving the crime.
The director, David Fincher, is masterful at bringing the dark and macabre to the screen and he does not disappoint with Zodiac. The attacks are not as dark or elaborate as those seen in his previous film, Se7en, yet the director still manages to portray each murder as cold, callous, and shocking. The story is brilliantly told in chronological order, starting with the first victims. We see what starts off as a routine murder investigation grow out of control, as two detectives and two reporters become consumed by the hunt for the Zodiac murderer. These four stories are presented in a way that seems believable and genuine. Their obsession seems to leap off the screen and touch its audience. As the film progresses, the viewer also becomes obsessed with the pursuit of the killer. However, this pursuit is not going to end with Harry Callahan shooting the killer dead. There is no neat Hollywood ending to this film; it will not answer all of your questions. In fact, you will find yourself asking that same question - Who is the Zodiac?
The DVD extras contain the usual mix of trailers, but it also contains a "featurette" on the making of the movie. Fincher fans will love this. If you are not convinced that Fincher strived to create a film that was both authentic and unbiased, you will be after watching this insight into his process. The Zodiac DVD is available for purchase on September 24th.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the Zodiac Speaking...,
I've been looking for this movie for quite a while and I was glad to see it so cheap on Amazon.
Includes commentary tracks as well if that is your thing!
Great cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. and John Carroll Lynch.
Based on the book by Robert Graysmith, who detailed the timeline and events of the killer known as the Zodiac who was a serial killer in the San Francisco area in the 1970's
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Zodiac" shows that there is more than one way to lose your life to a killer,
Ultimately, the fatal flaw in "Zodiac" is that the film fails to maintain the courage of its convictions. Given the impulse towards narrative completeness it is difficult to make a movie about a serial killer that has never been caught, and the tagline for this 2007 film comes up with an ideal solution with the whole idea that "There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer." That appellation applies to a trio of characters in director David Fincher's film. Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) is the lead detective on the case and Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) is covering the murders for the San Francisco "Chronicle," and they are going to devote years to the pursuit of the killer. Then there is Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), a cartoonist for the paper who becomes obsessed, first with the cryptograms the Zodiac sends to the "Chronicle" and then with figuring out the killer's identity.
The trailer for "Zodiac" makes it clear that Graysmith is the main character in the film, and the screenplay is based on the book that Graysmith wrote about the case. But he really does not emerge as such until the second half of the film, by which time Avery has moved on to a different paper and Toschi has put the case on the back burner, mainly because Zodiac has stopped killing. Or perhaps he has only stopped boasting about it to the press and the police. Graysmith cannot let go and continues to investigate on his own until he thinks that he knows who done it. Since the suppositions are Graysmith's, the movie bends to his perspective. Without them, the film cannot pretend to come to any conclusions. However, this runs counter to the tagline that suggests we should view Graysmith's obsession as a bad thing. "Zodiac" tries to walk a thin line and have it both ways but in the end it cannot help but take Greysmith's views as its own.
At first I was thinking "Zodiac" was comparable to "All the President's Men" in that the focus is on police procedure and investigative journalism, and you do not actually get to a resolution except in terms of the teletype or the end scrawl. Then I could see how in many ways the Zodiac can be viewed as the American Jack the Ripper, not in terms of the viciousness of his murder but rather because the case will never be solved, so speculation as to the murderer's identity is all we have and we get to run rampant with it. Both cases have website where you can debate who are or are not the victims and see the messages that the killers sent to torment the police. So there is also a sense in which "Zodiac" is attempting to answer the unanswerable question, much like "From Hell," albeit with much more in terms of concrete support (or at least absent evidence to the contrary).
The performances by the three principle performers forgives a lot of the faults here. Downey is one of the most mesmerizing actors around today, so it is hard to keep your eye on anyone else when he is on screen. Ruffalo turns in an effectively restrained performance, providing a lot of subtle shadings within the limited range he has hit upon for this role. Gyllenhaal is the one whose character has the greatest arc from start to finish as his obsession with finding the identity of the Zodiac unhinges his life and as much as finding the killer he needs somebody, whether it be Toschi, Avery, or his wife (Chloë Sevigny) to tell him he is right. Or maybe it could be something as simple as finally getting to look into the eyes of the Zodiac himself.
Next year the director's cut of "Zodiac" will come out on DVD, and I suppose I will check it out. But I am inclined to doubt that adding to the film will make it better because all it can really do is expand the various elements and not add additional ones. There was never sufficient proof to warrant the arrest of Graysmith's prime suspect and the film's suggestion that fate allowed time to run out speaks back to the intrinsic need for narrative completeness more than hard facts (although the movie gets points for the character of Toschi sticking to the need for proof that will stand up in court despite the circumstantial evidence that Graysmith amasses by the end of the film). Still, this version of "Zodiac" is well worth watching, even if it proves to be unsatisfying on various levels. The "true" story being told does not allow otherwise.
4.0 out of 5 stars Two decades in the life,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars not outstanding,but still pretty good(3.5/5),
okay,right off the bat,you should know that this movie is 157 minutes long.but hopefully that won't have too much of a bearing on whether you like the movie.it is compelling viewing,just enough to maintain interest.i think they could have cut a few scenes,but that's just me.if you're not familiar with the Zodiac,he's a killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late 60's to mid 70's.this movie chronicles those murders and the investigation that resulted.i would not call this movie exciting,in fact,it's quite low key.the acting is not bad,but i don't think there are any stand out performances.even though the movie is very deliberate in it's pacing,i wasn't bored once.if you go into this movie knowing it is very low key and very dramatic,with action that is subdued,you shouldn't be disappointed.if you're expecting an action movie,this may not be for you.anyway,i don't think this is an outstanding movie,but it is still pretty good.i give "Zodiac" a 3.5/5
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard Bluray to find. A true diamond in the rough.,
This review is from: Zodiac [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I am not sure why this Bluray was discontinued while others from Paramount Pictures that do not even compare to it continue to be manufactured. The film is truly meant for Bluray, I am glad I got a copy before it becomes even more harder to find. After watching it several times on DVD I was blown away with my first viewing of the Bluray disc. The story about the San Francisco newspaper cartoonist Robert Graysmith, trying frantically to put the pieces together, left behind by the letter taunting killer of the Bay Area seems to unfold for the first time all over again when comparing the DVD to the Bluray. All I can say is that if your a fan of the film, it is definitely worth it to own it on Bluray. It's a must for my collection.
5.0 out of 5 stars A milestone addition to your David Fincher collection.,
One of Fincher's best. A crime thriller detective drama about the real life Zodiac killer that his still not been caught to this day. What's fantastic about this movie is even though it 's a period piece, it still attracts theories on who the killer really was and the popular one was that they had him in their sights but let him go. As with any Fincher film on blu-ray, the video and audio quality are top of the line and it's packed with special features on the making of this film and a bit on the real Zodiac killer. A worthy addition to add to your Fincher collection, especially since this is a little harder to come by in retail. And it's slightly cheaper online too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film!,
I'm so glad they released this film again, as it was taken off print for a while. One the best film of the 2000's gets a very nice blu ray treatment! Kudos to Amazon for the fast shipping!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Zodiac: The Director's Cut by David Fincher (DVD - 2008)