“Zodiac” (2007) is an dense and highly absorbing true crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith, a political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle who, in 1969, becomes immersed in the police investigation of the notorious Zodiac killer.
Following a brutal lovers’ lane attack on the 4th of July, the San Francisco Chronicle begins to receive a series of encrypted letters directly from the self-styled “Zodiac”—captivating the young and impressionable Graysmith. Initially dismissed by lead crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), Graysmith ultimately proves his worth in helping to decipher several of the killer’s cryptic messages. As the horrific murders increase in number, Graysmith is drawn into close alliance with Avery and lead police inspectors Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards) in the dogged pursuit of the enigmatic killer—an investigation that spans nearly a decade as they painstakingly chase myriad leads and ultimately hone in on their lead suspect: Arthur Leigh Allen (John Carroll Lynch).
Based on Graysmith’s own novel “Zodiac: The Shocking True Story of the Hunt for the Nation's Most Elusive Serial Killer” and directed by Hollywood heavyweight David Fincher (“Fight Club”, “The Social Network”), “Zodiac” is a complex, labyrinthine and thoroughly absorbing crime thriller, highlighted in particular by Fincher’s masterful direction, A+ cinematography courtesy of the late Harris Savides (“The Game”, “Margot at the Wedding”) and impassioned performances from its entire ensemble cast. Equal parts fascinating, thrilling and utterly terrifying, it’s sophisticated and utterly sublime filmmaking at its very finest.
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