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
The Zodiac case was reopened after the release of the film. See more »
One of the books Robert Graysmith has in 1969 has a barcode on the back. Barcodes did not even exist in any stores until the summer of 1974, and most items did not contain barcodes for several years after that. See more »
The end text reads as follows: Following Mike Mageau's identification of Arthur Leigh Allen, authorities scheduled a meeting to discuss charging him with the murders. Allen suffered a fatal heart attack before this meeting could take place. In 2002, a partial DNA profile, that did not match Allen, was developed from a 33 year-old Zodiac envelope. Investigators in San Francisco and Vallejo refused to rule out Allen as a suspect on the basis of this test. In 2004, the San Francisco Police Department deactivated their Zodiac investigation. Today, the case remains open in Napa County, Solano County, and in the city of Vallejo, where Arthur Leigh Allen is still the prime and only suspect. Inspector David Toschi retired from the San Francisco Police Department in 1989. He was cleared of all charges that he wrote the 1978 Zodiac letter. Paul Avery passed away on December 10, 2000 of pulmonary emphysema. He was 66. His Ashes were scattered by his family in the San Francisco Bay. Robert Graysmith lives in San Francisco and enjoys a healthy relationship with his children. He claims he has not received a single anonymous call since Allen's death. See more »
I have been highly interested and engrossed in the Zodiac killer story for the last 5 years now and I can say, without doubt, that this is the best and most accurate telling of the story. The film presents numerous details that were unknown to me before seeing it. All of these facts and theories are thrown together in a way that strings the viewer along, you think it's someone, then you get new information and that person is no longer a suspect. Fincher really puts you into the life of a detective working on the case. You feel just as excited when new information comes about and are equally disappointed when it leads to another dead end.
The film is beautifully shot (on VIPER digital cameras) and once again, Fincher shows us his wonderfully adept skills with CGI shots. All of the actors shine and truly become their characters. Jake Gyllenhall and Robert Downey Jr. put in excellent performances, as does Mark Ruffalo. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Phillip Baker Hall join the ensemble.
The only complaint I have heard that holds any water is that the film is too long. At roughly 2 1/2 hours, I can see how many would think that is long, but you have to realize that this is an intricate story with deep characters who need to be examined and understood. A standard 90 minute film, or even a two hour cut, would not have been able to tell the story as well. Character motivation and important details would have been left on the cutting room floor.
If you have followed the Zodiac case, you will be happy to see how well done this movie is. If you don't know anything about the case, you will be given an excellent story that will make you want to learn more about it. Regardless, you should do yourself a favor and see this movie. If nothing else, it's better than "Wild Hogs".
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