Zodiac - 2007 - David Fincher

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Robert Graysmith's books serve as the basis for David Fincher's thriller about the killings that took place in the San Francisco area during the late 60's and early 70's. Zodiac was a man who loved the attention and toyed with the authorities throughout his run of killings. Zodiac is most famous for sending coded messages to the San Francisco newspapers. The ciphers were partially solved but they did not provide much useful information about the killer. Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr) is the crime reporter at the Chronicle when the first letter arrives. Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a cartoonist at the time and takes an interest in the cipher that the killer includes with his letter. Avery starts an investigation into the crimes and becomes obsessed with the case and starts to drink heavily. As he looses control he starts to get in the way of the police. Avery eventually pushes things to far and is forced out of the Chronicle and off of the story. Graysmith takes a more active interest in the case after Avery leave. Unfortunately this is the point in the film where Downey disappears and we follow Greysmith and inspector Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) for the rest of the movie. Ruffalo gives a strong performance but, Gyllenhaal is not on the same level. The other issue that you have in a film about a true story that has no resolution is how do you end it. We have seen this handled poorly in a film such as The Black Dalhia. Fincher is a better filmmaker than Brian De Palma and he avoids the pitfalls of trying to solve the case outright and leaves the viewer with a knowing who Greysmith believes did the killings.
Visually Zodiac does not break any new ground but, the taxi cab sence is amazing. This is David Finchers best film to date.


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