Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal): Did he say they got a print?
Paul Avery (Robert Downey, Jr): A partial.
Robert Graysmith: Whoa. Dude, he wears his gun like Bullitt.
Paul Avery: No, McQueen got that from Toschi.
Robert Graysmith: Does he think that Zodiac's gonna send another code? 'Cause I think Zodiac's gonna send another code.
Paul Avery: Jesus Harold Christ on rubber crutches, Bobby, what are you doing? You're doing that thing. The thing that we discussed, the thing that I don't like, starts with an L...
Robert Graysmith: Oh, looming.
Paul Avery: Yeah.
"Do you know more people die in the East Bay commute every three months than that idiot ever killed? He offed a few citizens, wrote a few letters, then faded into footnote... Not that I haven't been sitting here idly, waiting for you to drop by and reinvigorate my sense of purpose."
- Paul Avery
At a glance: Director David Fincher’s docudrama about the Zodiac serial killer runs just short of 3 hours, and uses that time recreate a highly detailed, often intense criminal investigation slash period piece
In 1968 and 1969, a serial killer who called himself the Zodiac and ‘distinguished’ himself by writing letters accompanied by coded ciphers, attacked 7 people in Northern California, killing 5. Over the years, the letters continued, with the Zodiac claiming to have killed more than 37 people, although no other murders were confirmed to be done by him. The murder investigation went on for years and yielded some promising suspects, none of whom could be linked to the killings by any more than circumstantial evidence. Zodiac the movie is a docudrama that focuses on three people who tried to track the killer: reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey, Jr), Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal). The screenplay is based on Graysmith’s book. Talented director David Fincher takes on much more than just doing a doco of the Zodiac killer: he creates a period piece populated by fleshed out characters where the Zodiac killing is the glue in their stories, but, even without it, the movie would still be a good movie. Carefully captures the history of the period, through sets, music, and topical references (for example, a characters discusses Melvin Belli’s appearance on Star Trek and its subsequent cancellation – which is a nice little homage to Trek, I must say).
"[W]here Se7en, with its stygian gloom and theatrical executions, inflated the serial killer genre to gothic proportions, Zodiac lets the air back out. It is methodical rather than macabre, clinical rather than cruel."
- Christopher Orr (New Republic)
"Not until well into its second hour does it settle on a theme: the need to know the truth, and the dismal toll of that futile obsession."
- Peter Keough (Boston Phoenix)
"David Fincher's sixth feature potently blends the dynamics of the newsroom drama with those of the police procedural."
- Graham Fuller (Sight and Sound)