With a dead body lying between them, two men wake up in the secure lair of a serial killer who's been nicknamed "Jigsaw". The men must follow various rules and objectives if they wish to survive and win the deadly game set for them.
THE ZODIAC takes a different look at the famous Zodiac Killer case from other screen treatments of the murders. More than a simple crime story, the film is an emotional thriller focusing on the murders' impact on victims, their families and the wider community. The film follows a police detective and his son who become obsessed with the murders and endanger their family in the process. Written by
Many of the neighborhood scenes were filmed on location in the St. Basil neighborhood of Vallejo. See more »
During the stakeout, when the police surround the Mercury, there is a camera shot that is from the back seat, over the driver's right shoulder. In the upper left corner of the windshield, there is a clear plastic Valvoline oil change sticker. These stickers were not in existence in 1968. See more »
The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze
From the MIkado by William S. Gilbert (as W. S. Gilbert) and Arthur Sullivan
Sung by Deborah Rees
Performed by D'Oyly Carte Opera Orchestra,
Conducted by John Pryce-Jones
Courtesy of JAY Productions Ltd. and Sony Classical See more »
The real-life Zodiac killer, who terrorized the California Bay Area in the late 1960s, was never caught. That fact in itself renders the potential for a most compelling story. But if you're going to make a movie about this case, who or what does your movie focus on? You can't focus on the killer himself because you don't know who he is. This might seem like a problem for movie makers. But for a clever film producer the killer's anonymity presents an opportunity.
"The Zodiac" (2005) focuses on a fictional lead detective, a man named Matt Parish (Justin Chambers), his wife and his young, never smiling, son who fixates on his dad's detective work. The plot thus gets sidetracked onto this fictional family, their home life, and how this unsolvable case affects each of them. And we have lots of filler scenes with archival footage of the era, including the moon landing, Vietnam, Nixon, but precious little about the Zodiac. The film thus comes across as tedious, trite, and largely irrelevant, lacking suspense and tension.
Visually the film trends dark with a moody tone, both appropriate for the topic. Casting and acting are acceptable except for the annoying and unnecessary William Mapother. Cinematography and production design are competent. But the music is overly dramatic.
My impression is that the film's producers wanted to capitalize on this famous case with the word "Zodiac" in the title. The film could then show how the phantom killer, never seen, always in the background and obscured, could affect the lives of ordinary people in the community. The result is a mostly generic, opportunistic script that could be applied to almost any unsolved serial killer case.
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