zodiac movie poster

David Fincher directed Zodiac, a movie about the hunt for a serial killer in 1970’s San Francisco. Fincher is probably best known as the director of Se7en.  He later directed the American version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and The Social Network

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Robert Graysmith was working as a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle at the time and became very interested in the “Zodiac” case.  He fiercely investigated the case for years, eventually writing two books on the subject.  His obsession convinced his wife to leave him and take their kids with her. The case remains unsolved to this day, and the number of people he killed or attacked is in dispute. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Graysmith, Robert Downey Jr. stars as Chronicle crime reporter Paul Avery and Mark Ruffalo plays SFPD detective David Tochi who’s assigned to the case.

I really enjoyed the film because it was set in the 1970’s, but I did not feel like it overdid the 1970’s details.  Once the setting is established, it does not seem like the movie is trying to consistently remind the viewer that the movie is set over 30 years ago (the film was made in 2007).

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I thought both Downey and Gyllenhaal were very entertaining in their roles.  You could worry about Gyllenhaal’s character as he continues to investigate the case and seems to ignore the fact that he is not law enforcement.  Ruffalo is great, too, but has a much smaller role than Gyllenhaal or Downey Jr. The recreations of the murders were disturbingly realistic.

Roger Ebert gave Zodiac a four star review and several other critics put it on their top ten movies of the year list. If you enjoy true crime thrillers, this film is definitely worth your time. Stream it for free on the Kanopy app with your McAllen Public Library card. 


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