7.7/10
451,153
807 user 410 critic

Zodiac (2007)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.

Director:

David Fincher

Writers:

James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Robert Graysmith (book)
Reviews
Popularity
189 ( 28)
4 wins & 72 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Gyllenhaal ... Robert Graysmith
Mark Ruffalo ... Inspector David Toschi
Anthony Edwards ... Inspector William Armstrong
Robert Downey Jr. ... Paul Avery
Brian Cox ... Melvin Belli
John Carroll Lynch ... Arthur Leigh Allen
Richmond Arquette ... Zodiac 1 / Zodiac 2
Bob Stephenson ... Zodiac 3
John Lacy ... Zodiac 4
Chloë Sevigny ... Melanie
Ed Setrakian Ed Setrakian ... Al Hyman
John Getz ... Templeton Peck
John Terry ... Charles Thieriot
Candy Clark ... Carol Fisher
Elias Koteas ... Sgt. Jack Mulanax
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Storyline

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 tom day

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When a series of murders terrorized California, one man took responsibility for them all. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong killings, language, drug material and brief sexual images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Avery did not withdraw from working at the San Francisco Chronicle to a life of reclusive obscurity as the film suggests. In the mid-1970s, he reported on the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst and turned his reports into a book: "The Voices of Guns" (1976). He was also married with two daughters, a fact which was only briefly mentioned in the film. See more »

Goofs

(at around 47 mins) When the motorcade drives Melvin Belli down Division Street to his meeting with Zodiac, the modern San Francisco skyline is visible. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mike Mageau: Where have you been? I've been waiting since 7:00.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing disclaimer: This film is based upon Robert Graysmith's books "Zodiac" and "Zodiac Unmasked", actual historical events and public records. Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization. See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut contains approximately 5 minutes of new footage, including:
  • Melvin Belli (Brian Cox) talks about his Safari trip (when the Zodiac letter came to his house)
  • Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) introduces himself to the Riverside Police Chief
  • A new scene between Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Avery (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • A three-way conversation laying Leigh as a suspect to get a search warrant
  • Extended audio montage (over a black screen)
  • Plus extra bits of dialogue
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Films About Serial Killers (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Deacon Blues
Written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen
Performed by Steely Dan
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Not Your Average Serial Killer Movie (And That's a Good Thing)
26 March 2007 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

"Zodiac" may frustrate viewers who come to David Fincher's latest film expecting a traditional serial killer thriller. The film begins with a couple of hair-raising and rather brutal recreations of murders carried out by the mysterious killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These early scenes are shocking and, compared to the rest of the film, disorienting, because they offer the only time that we come close to seeing events from the killer's perspective. As the film progresses, the Zodiac killer himself fades into the background, and the movie turns into a meticulous and engrossing document of the investigation to track him down, an investigation that includes countless blind alleys and false clues and which to this day has not reached a conclusion. I would be more prone to label the somewhat rambling screenplay as sloppy storytelling if I did not feel that Fincher tells the story exactly as he wants to. The elusive narrative works, because the film is about an elusive villain.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist working for the "San Francisco Chronicle" at the time the Zodiac killer began his gruesome work. He becomes fascinated by the case, and takes it on as a sort of morbid personal hobby long after the police department has given it up as a lost cause. Graysmith eventually wrote the book on which this film is based, and according to his accounts, he discovered enough evidence about one of the suspects in the case to put the police back on his trail years after he'd been cleared for lack of evidence. Other characters come and go. Robert Downey, Jr. does characteristically terrific work as a reporter at the "Chronicle" who grabs his own portion of notoriety through his involvement in the case. Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards play the two detectives in charge of the investigation. Chloe Sevigny plays Gyllenhaal's put-upon wife, who gradually loses her husband to his obsession. All of the actors deliver thrilling performances, many of them against the odds. Since this isn't a character driven movie, many of the characters remain undeveloped, but not, for once, to the detriment of the film. This story isn't about the people involved, but rather about their role in the Zodiac saga; once they've served their purpose, Fincher dispenses with them. Ironically, a film that clocks in at nearly 3 hours exhibits a great deal of narrative economy.

Parts of "Zodiac" are intensely creepy. Fincher effectively uses the rainy San Francisco atmosphere to its maximum potential, and the grimy browns and grays of the production design call to mind Fincher's other well-known films, like "Seven" and "Fight Club." But "Zodiac" is much more grown up than those films, and for an audience to enjoy it, it has to have an attention span. Long scenes are given to analyzing handwriting samples, recreating the scenes of murders, digging through newspaper clippings and files. You can tell that Fincher is fascinated by police work in the pre-CSI era, when fax machines were still a novel invention. He delves into the investigative process with a nearly fetishistic attention to detail, but he makes all of it endlessly mesmerizing. He does his best to bring everything to some sort of conclusion, but the real-life end to the story makes a complete conclusion impossible. This film is more about the journey than the destination, and what a journey it is.

Grade: A


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chronicles See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,395,610, 4 March 2007

Gross USA:

$33,080,084

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$84,785,914
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
See full technical specs »

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