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4.2 out of 5 stars29
4.2 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2013
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
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon August 2, 2007
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.
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HALL OF FAMEon August 18, 2007
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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on August 2, 2007
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 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
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on August 7, 2014
I wanted to get this movie for some time now as the reviews were consistently good.
When the price came down to a reasonable level I bought it.
Just recently watched it and enjoyed it very much.
The acting was good and the story stayed close enough to what really happened.
As people know the Zodiac was never brought to trial but one suspect who died in the early nineties was show cased in the movie.
I like the way in the closing credits where it tells what happened to the characters in real life.
That's a nice touch.
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on November 7, 2011
I bought this movie in BR to add to my collection. The mastering of the video and audio is superb and the many music tracks from the period are just amazing on a good surround system.

the video was bought through an amazon distributor and they gave me prompt and excellent service. (Beardos bazaar).

I recommend this movie as it is based on true events.

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on November 30, 2015
Spooky creepy movie. Chloe Sevigney annoyed the heck out of me but Mark Ruffalo made up for it ... as he always does.
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on November 7, 2015
Great movie!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2013
I was prepared for a certain style of movie having read reviews. I was not disappointed by the acting however the final ingredient missing to add the 5th star was a sense of suspense while watching the film.
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