|List Price: $36.99
Our Price: $17.49
You Save: $19.50 (53%)
Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 01/13/2009 Run time: 162 minutes Rating: R
Closer in spirit to a police procedural than a gory serial-killer flick, David Fincher's Zodiac provides a sleek, armrest-gripping re-invention of the crime film. It surveys the investigation of the Zodiac killings that terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late -60-early -70s; Zodiac not only killed people, but cultivated a Jack the Ripper aura by sending icky letters to the newspapers and daring readers to solve coded messages. But the film's focus isn't on the killer. We follow the reporters and detectives whose lives are taken over by the case, notably an addictive crime writer (a sartorially splendid Robert Downey Jr.), an awkward editorial cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal), and a hard-working cop (Mark Ruffalo). Fincher and his brilliant cinematographer Harris Savides are deft at capturing the period feel of the city, without laying on the seventies kitsch, and James Vanderbilt's script doles out its big moments to major and minor characters alike. Fincher's confidence is infectious; the movie glides through its myriad details with such dexterity that even the blind alleys and red herrings seem essential. The well-chosen cast includes unexpected people popping up all over: Anthony Edwards as a lunch-bucket homicide cop; Charles Fleischer as a mysterious suspect; Elias Koteas and Donal Logue as small-town policemen whose districts are hit by Zodiac; Chloe Sevigny as Gyllenhaal's sweet-natured wife; Brian Cox as the media-friendly lawyer Melvin Belli, so famous he once appeared on Star Trek; and the mighty John Carroll Lynch, as a supremely creepy suspect. The film is based on non-fiction books by Robert Graysmith (he's portrayed by Gyllenhaal), although Fincher and co. did extensive research on their own. The result is a propulsive whodunit without (thus far) an ending, but the uncertainty makes the film even more intriguing. --Robert Horton
- The Zodiac (Blu-ray)
I am a Blu-ray disc enthusiast and I have to say that this film has been given top notch treatment in its transter to HD. I owned this film in Standard DVD and now own it on Blu-ray disc and the difference in video quality is amazing. While the Standard DVD looked good upconverted to 1080p in my HDTV, it simply could not match the three-dimensionality, vibrant color, and detail of the Blu-ray version. This is one of the best Blu-ray discs I have seen and would highly recommend it to fans of the film....more info
When I saw this version of "Zodiac" in the budget bin, it was an impulse purchase. I'd seen the film in the theatre. The strange thing for me is that I remembered this as being an older film, like 2000 or so. Made last year, David Fincher directed this and was nominated for Best Director from Film Critics in Chicago and Toronto. Fincher's other films include "Panic Room," "Fight Club" & "Seven." One might expect a bloody thriller, but instead "Zodiac" is an intense drama centered on Robert Graysmith's compulsion to find the killer.
Jake Gyllenhall who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Brokeback Mountain (Widescreen Edition) and actually won @ the British Academy Awards plays the role with subtle but growing indications of Graysmith's strength of conviction. Since Graysmith is a cartoonist at the San Francisco paper, his mission about this case seems to come from left field.
Mark Ruffalo won a Best Actor Award from the Montreal World Film Festival for "You Can Count On Me" and shined in one of my favorite films, Just Like Heaven (Widescreen Edition). As Inspector David Toschi, he does a good job of bird-dogging the case, but then even he reaches a point where he wants to throw in the towel.
Robert Downey Jr. plays San Francisco reporter Paul Avery whose arrogance leads him into pursuit. Downey was nominated for an Oscar in 1992 for "Chaplin" and won a Golden Globe for "Ally McBeal" in 2000. He shows the deterioration of the character into an alcoholic haze.
Brian Cox does an excellent job as Melvin Belli. Anthony Edwards from TV's "ER" plays Inspector William Armstrong who comes to prefer a desk job. The film is a good psychological study of the main characters tracking the killer. The final scene where Graysmith goes into the hardware store and stares at the guy he knows did it, but is unable to prove is intense. The film got Best Picture nominations from Film critics in the Southeast, Las Vegas & Oklahoma. Enjoy!
- Well done
I missed this in theaters, but this dvd is well worth watching for its procedural approach to a famous case I knew nothing about. The performances are first-rate, but the sound is a little muddled. The period soundtrack is cool. There's the usual serial-killer vibe going on, but the movie overall maintains its pace and intensity without overkill or gross-out scenes that go on too long. Intelligent movie....more info
- All the Maniac's Men
David Fincher's recounting of the search for the Bay area serial killer in the 60s and 70s is presented here in a director's cut that easily stands as the best film of 2007. Unlike many director's cut the adds here are seamless. Everything seems essential and adds to the power of this epic, brilliantly detailed procedural.
The picture falls into three neatly constructed acts, the first of which chillingly reconstructs the crimes. These scenes are like the beach landing in Private Ryan. We've seen it before, but never like this. The filmakers force us to confront what happened in all its terror and banaility. It isn't exploitative, it's unforgetable. Next we get the cops working the case (and the phones) and zeroing in on a prime suspect and by the last act the case becomes an obsession consuming the cartoonist Robert Graysmith. Each section succeeds powerfully, and nothing is lost by not imposing a fictionalized ending. In fact, the omission of the kind of closure found in The Black Dahlia or From Hell is what makes this a masterpiece. You're haunted by the uncertainties. You get a taste of Graysmith obsession.
For a film with maybe a hundred speaking parts or more there isn't a single false note sounded anywhere. What worked least for me in the theater was Jake as Graysmith, but after watching the real Graysmith in the accompanying documentaries you realize he 's doing a canny imitation. He also has some deadpan line readings that are the film's funniest. Downey is sensational as always, but if the film has a standout it's Ruffalo who is brilliant.
The score of the film is great and Fincher's use of music from the period will transport you without distracting you.
The full-length documentaries on the case are low-key, but devastating as we meet Zodiac's survivors and some of the cops on the case.
Great commentary track with film's writer and James Ellroy who gives his endorsement of this masterwork. ...more info
- Was I the Zodiac?
The SF Chronicle reported that DNA from saliva under a postage stamp has cleared Arthur Leigh Allen, the favorite suspect in San Francisco's most celebrated serial murder mystery. Artie Allen may or may not be gratified - he died, after all, twelve years ago - but I find the news disquieting. Though there's no reason for the cops to have my DNA on file, I've long been expecting suspicion to shine my way. The profile fits. I moved to the Bay Area in 1968, in time for the first killing at the pumping station in Vallejo. I'm intimate with the other slaughter scenes as well: Lovers' Point on Lake Berryessa, Cherry Street on Pacific Heights, the Yosemite Cut-off near Modesto. I weigh the requisite 210 lbs, I stand the proper 5' 11", I sometimes wear those boxy glasses shown in the police artist's sketch, and my gloves, like OJ's, are XXL. I can make my penmanship look any age, gender, or educational level, a knack I learned from faking sick-out excuses in junior high. Most incriminating, I have the habit of putting too much postage on letters, especially submissions to magazines.
On the other hand, I've never owned an Impala or worn a pair of Wing Walkers, certainly not size 10?. I don't smoke, and I'd have to stretch to spell like the guy who wrote The boy was origionaly sitting in the frunt seat when I began fireing or What I did was tape a smal pencel flash light to the barel of my gun. Admittedly, misspellings might be subterfuge or typos from writing in cipher, but it would take a post-modernist genius to counterfeit a line like the Idiout who phraises with inthusiastic tone of centuries bout this and every country but his own.
The weak link in the chain of circumstances binding me to the Zodiac is that I don't recall stabbing or shooting anyone. Nor do I recollect mailing a single cryptogram. Of course, you have only my word for my unmemories, but asking if I remember something is like asking a Cretan if he's a liar. Since all Cretans are postulated liars, any answer is tautological. What I do recall is the sensation of wondering, each time the Zodiac hit front page, whether I might not be the killer, shrouding my guilt from myself in schizophrenic amnesia. As Nero's favorite playwright said, humani nil a me alienum. Nothing human is foreign to me.
This memory of doubting my own memory haunts me. There are gaps in my memoirs--weeks, months--easily wide enough to accommodate a few random killings. I first realized I'd forgotten large parts of my life when I applied for a job, right out of college, requiring security clearance. Who bought the marijuana, the squinty G-man asked, which you and Rick Fields smoked together in his dorm room on the night of May 3rd, 1964? Smelling entrapment, I gruffly objected to the absurdity of expecting anyone to remember such trivia, but I didn't get the job. What's worse, I can't recall now if I ever really smoked dope in college, let alone inhaled.
I suppose I could scrape my tongue and send it to the lab - anonymously, you understand, since it's self-awareness I seek, not closure. Admittedly, the burden of proof in America rests on the prosecution, but we've often been too quick, we Yanks, to exonerate ourselves. Right now I have to wonder why none of the corpses I buried under the artichokes behind my cottage have been exhumed. It's an awkward feeling, being evicted from a house where you've buried bodies. The new people are bound to dig the veggies up to plant dahlias, or to repaper the bedroom and find the walled-up crypt.
Are there biochemical tracers for dreams? Do the neurons worry about sources, or do they blindly update bits and bytes of memory seriatim, in which case what I call my life is no more than a bundle of algorithms, a cryptogram waiting vainly to be defragmented? I've already downloaded portions of the 1507 websites meticulously devoted to what was, after all, a minor murder spree. The BTK in Wichita, for instance, strangled nine, wrote twice as many taunting letters as the Zodiac (with better spelling) and spattered prodigious volumes of semen all over his crime scenes. The Green River Killer dumped so many corpses in the environs of Seattle - forty-two and still counting - that Boy Scouts started getting merit badges in forensics. In Ciudad Juarez, dusty gullies routinely cough up young women - mauled, dismembered, minced - the slaughter count now over 340, the leading suspects all local policemen. Browsing the Web, I feel like Dante creeping into Hell: io non averei creduto che morte tanta n'avesse disfatta. I had not thought that death had undone so many.
In these and other spectacular acts of mayhem, bogus letters claiming guilt outnumber the real thing, and experts say serial killers tend to inject themselves into investigations, often posing as cops. Now there's a stunt I can imagine myself pulling. Whenever I shattered one of Mother's kitschy knick-knacks, I earnestly volunteered to help track down the intruder. Likewise my first wife (or is it my third?) testifies that whenever I groped one of her girlfriends, I gave myself away by making disparaging cracks about the victim. It's a short step from disparagement to murder, I confess, though too short to win me an election in California. On the other hand, Detective Dave Toschi may have forged the Zodiac's final 1978 letter, evincing a rare flair for literary imposture - unless, as his fans argue, he was the actual killer himself. He hardly fit the profile, however, having neither large hands nor small feet.
By the way, an almost universal trait in psychological profiles of serial killers, according to FBI sources, is an "obsessive reading of stories and essays about unsolved crimes." If that extends, as I fear it must, to the writing thereof, once this is published it's only a matter of time until I find myself arraigned on somebody's web page. Well then, come and get me, all of you! I've lived with my secrets long enough!
[And by the way, the film would have made a better book.]
- Dear Editor, This is the Zodiac Speaking
The worldview of Director David Fichner has always been a dour and dark one. From his first big splash of the wildly underrated Alien 3 and the the genre redefining Se7en, he approaches the noir of details like few others. However, this attention to the underbelly takes a toll on "Zodiac," a serial killer film that spends more time on the soul killing of the killer's trackers than on the killer itself.
The movie is basically a two-parter, with the first detailing real-life San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery (an animatedly off-center Robert Downey Jr, giving early glimpses at his soon to exlpode comeback), an SF Homicide Detective David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and the killer as he picks off his victims in a rather non-sensationalist manner. The victims pile up and the city is thrown into paranoia, Avery and Toschi become obsessed with catching this modern-day Jack The Ripper. When he stays constantly one step ahead of capture and cunningly taunts his pursuers, everyone involved begins to spiral down. Once Avery suspects he is in the killer's cross-hairs, he no longer can report and soon becomes another kind of victim.
That's when "Zodiac" lurches into a lumbering and poorly paced second half. Editorial Cartoonist and real-life author of this film's source book, Zodiac, Robert Graysmith becomes inexplicably obsessed with the killer and begins to pick up where everyone else gave up. The problem is that Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) was just incidental to the first half of the film, and he was more annoying than purposeful. When he blossoms into this full-blown super-snoop, it barely seems plausible. And given that almost all the main characters from the first 90 minutes have disintegrated in their failure to apprehend Zodiac, the movie becomes Gyllenhaal's to carry.
As Graysmith's obsession to the case becomes more neurotic, freneticism takes over and paranoid raves/rants/red herrings begin to overwhelm the character and the movie. Gyllenhaal pounding on Detective Toschi's window at midnight in the pouring rain was almost cringe inducing, as was the claustrophobic basement scene with the former film-house owner. Graysmith, like the others chasing The Zodiac ahead of him, soon gets pulled into the vortex with unsavory results. Yet in the first part of the film, there were multiple people getting torn apart in this investigative black hole, making "Zodiac" palpable. Graysmith's trip down the cliff is tedious and, frankly, unbelievable.
While the grim circumstances are played to a fair historical accuracy and with Fichner's customery cool manner, a little judicious editing might have trimmed this to a more palatable film. There are too many detours and sidelines, making "Zodiac" something close to a documentary than a drama, which leaves you without any good guys or bad guys. Towards the end, I just wanted Graysmith to STFU and finish his book, and couldn't even root for the anti-hero suspect (a creepy John Carroll Lynch), because anyone worth cheering for was now soul-dead. The final credit postlogue told the story of just how deeply the players were all affected, but "Zodiac" is primarily about the victims the murderer let live; Toschi, Avery and Graysmith, and how he killed them all the same. ...more info
- "Titwillo, Titwillo"
As a person who was mesmerized by Robert Greysmith's book, I did not think any movie production based on the same events could compare. I was wrong. This is a wonderful movie, if you like true crime productions, and mind boggling even if you don't. As a young Army wife who took a two week TDY to SF, I found myself staying in an el cheapo motel right next to The Presidio where Zodiac, who was still active, had done some of his most heineous handiwork. I was frightened and always looking over my shoulder. As a true crime buff, I had stayed aprised of his activities. I have even visited the Zodiac website many times since, where you can hear a recording of a Zodiac suspect's actual voice. Chilling. Who was the Zodiac? Their best canditate has been cleared by DNA lab results of sealing one of the envelopes with his own saliva. He was a clever guy, however and possibly tricked another person into sealing it for him before he put the address to the SF Police dept on it. Police science will most probably give us the answer some day. Jake Gyllenhaal as Greysmith is superb, as are the scenes that try to help us get inside the mind of the killer and the man obsessed with catching him....more info
- Long, but worth it
This movie starts out a bit grisly, with a couple of random murders, then transforms into a journalist/detective flic. It has plenty of twists and turns (as expected), but because it is based upon a true story, the ending is somewhat anticlimactic....more info
- The Zodiac Killer.
This is an awesome movie and is an even better purchase. This dvd comes with great special features including a featurette outlining the entire non-fictional investigation of the "the Zodiac killer". This movie keeps you second guessing yourself at all times as to who the killer is. Awesome movie. Worth the money....more info
- Director's Cut: Worth The Wait
When Zodiac was first released several months ago I was completely dissapointed with the product...hardly any special features. With such a huge subject matter such as the Zodiac...I expected mountains of features.
Well it's finally here and it was worth the wait. The 1 hour and 47 minute documentary about the making of the film is incredibly interesting. The amount of detail put to every aspect of the film is unbelievable. David Fincher's careful eye is explained and celebrated in this very thorough documentary. The documentary takes it's time and doesn't rush through behind the scenes footage like other documentaries for Special Features...you really get to see the the film making process as it's happening.
The other 2 documentaries are under "The Facts" section of the special features. These documentaries are new interviews with actual investigators and survivors from the Zodiac killings. Unbelievable. The interviews are gripping and incredibly hypnotizing. Every survivor that is still alive is captured on tape here. These are very NEW interviews--just for this DVD.
The entire package is worth it. Finally: this great movie gets a packaged DVD set that delivers the goods....more info
- Utterly Absorbing
"Zodiac" is fascinating. It pulls you into a labyrinth of detail and doesn't let you go for two and a half hours, as a host of interesting characters try to unravel a mystery that remains officially raveled to this day. A great cast (including Phillip Baker Hall, who was also in the not quite as good version of the story "The Zodiac"), tight scenes, an effective sense of time and place, and an excellent script all combine in a story that will almost certainly give you the creeps, but in a way that engages your mind and not just your fear factor. It's almost as if "All the President's Men" were about a serial killer; it has that kind of feel. Definitely worth renting, and you'll probably wanna buy it, because it has more detail than can be absorbed in one sitting. Deserved to do better at the American box office....more info
- 4 STARS FOR THE SINGLE DISC
This movie is actually a very interesting and entertaining look at a coward named [self named] The Zodiac Killer. For those who have read my other review [The Zodiac Killer-which was a good movie over all] about this fame seeking individual will know what I think of this chump. This seemed like a real event to me when I was watching it [as in the movie felt real, I know the events actually took place] since the atmosphere, writing, direction, and acting seemed to be in top order. For fans of serial killer movies and movie fans over all this is worth while flick that is purchase worthy in my opinion. Of course I am sure you all know what it is basically about, the killer right? Kinda
While the movie is basically about this guy the true story lies within the people who covered the killings and the ones who investigated them. And even then it is not truly about those people it is about how it affected their lives and changed them. You may be saying well that means it is about them then, no because how it affected them is basically how it affected the whole area. This movie is about the impact this glory hound had on the population during this time, the book on which this is based is great by the way.
Any way the film follows a couple of different people from the lead investigators to other police officers from different areas, and of course the newspaper employees who followed this case as well. It was interesting to see these people go through changes that altered their lives forever; some just gave up while stayed obsessed with the case. Director David Fincher who you may know from making other great films like "Seven and Fight Club" I believe does a great job with this movie. Although you will say to yourself at one point or another "this is a long movie" it still is a great viewing experience. James Vanderbilt's screenplay based on Robert Graysmith's book is wonderful and really brings the people on screen to life.
Speaking of author Robert Graysmith he is played wonderfully by Jake Gyllenhaal whose obsession with the case drives him closer and closer to an answer he will never truly get. Maybe one day but as far as the book and film even though he believes he knows who the Zodiac is he will never truly get the answer as of now. Jake is great n this film and you can see the transformation of an everyday average guy to a man who becomes so obsessed that he alienates his own family. Mark Ruffalo is great as well playing Inspector David Toschi as is Anthony Edwards who plays Inspector William Armstrong. Both do great jobs in this film and are truly upset that they never caught their man.
One of my favorite actors out there Robert Downey Jr. is excellent as usual playing Paul Avery. This guy goes from being one of the most confident people ever to being reduced to a shell of his former self, even though he ends up helping more then he thinks when Robert comes to see him. Another great performance comes in the form of John Carroll Lynch who plays the lead suspect Arthur Leigh Allen. Both these guys deliver well and add a lot to the film, glad both were cast in this. Still everyone that was in this movie deserves credit because all were good and deserve praise for their acting abilities.
This is a little more held back as far as blood and stuff compared to the filmmakers previous films but that adds to the atmosphere in my opinion. This is a wonderful movie that I truly believe most would enjoy even if it feels a bit long. The only problem is that if you want some special features you have to buy the two disc version, this single disc has nothing on it really. Still if it is all you can find the movie alone is worth it, go rent, buy or what ever this movie.
- Marred by Cliche
This is a fairly good film, full of brooding and stalking. However my enthusiasm for the film was tempered a little by the clich¨¦ of its central theme - which is the obsession that one police detective develops with the case.
The worst part of the clich¨¦ is the way the detective's wife is relegated to the shadows while he pursues his obsession. Actually, women play virtually no role in this film at all, except as victims. The whole film is the importance of men's concentrations. The detective's wife really has only one notable line in the movie, and that's to fadingly worry whether the carrots or some other dishes she's prepared for dinner - are warm enough. Eventually, as always happens in these cases, the marriage dissolves altogether and the detective is left to ponder the evidence in a state of increasing isolation and disintegration.
How refreshing it would be to just once see a spouse plunge into an investigation with equal interest, the way Daphne does on an episode of "Frasier," the TV sitcom. When health care provider Daphne sees Martin, the retired policeman, pouring over some old photos of a cold case murdered prostitute, she doesn't cringe, whine, and worry. She commands, "Here, don't be a greedy guts! Let me have a look!"
Of course, the Zodiac murders were no joke. But the spectacle of yet one more detective degenerating into the puzzle detracts from the unique seriousness of the case. There are also some splotches of illogic that detract from the film. For example, at one point the vulnerable detective accompanies a supremely creepy suspect down, alone, into an unlit basement. There was no good reason for the detective to expose himself to such danger, other than to establish this movie firmly in the category of "thriller."
I was also disappointed that there was no commentary on this DVD version. It would have been interesting to know some more of the facts about the actual investigation, so I suggest you obtain a full Director's copy of this film.
But the film's score largely makes up for any lapses. Its haunting, taunting theme song, "Hurdy-Gurdy Man," truly captures the likely psychological state of the serial killer. ...more info
- A must-have blu-ray.
This a top quality film in every aspect, of course I love most of David Fincher's work. Zodiac is also one of the best blu-rays out there. The presentation is so realistic it really is as if you are looking through a window and if you reach through you could feel the textures and experience the atmosphere. If this blu does not make you go WOW you most likely need to adjust your display's picture settings....more info
- "When I do it the headaches stop..."
Zodiac could well be the best film of 2007. As far as movies about serial killers go, David Fincher might find that with this and Se7en, he has earned both second and third place, paying homage to his master, Hitchcock, who retains first place with his cross-dressing shower murderer.
Avid enthusiasts of the Zodiac case will find this movie faithful in many departments and it does try to reveal the executioner which is impressive for a serial killer movie about a slaughterer that was never caught... well at least officially. Fincher implicates one of the possible suspects beyond a doubt so we do find closure.
However, Zodiac is more than just a serial killer movie. It is about obsession and how it destroys lives. The film leaves you wondering, who is more obsessed and deluded? The serial killer who stalks victims for media fame, or the cartoonist turned wannabe detective who abandons his family and fills his rooms with boxes of files instead of his kids. In a memorable scene which describes the vast time periods involved (the film spans over 20 years) his kids know the ins and outs of the case better than some detectives do.
This is well made, well acted film that also looks great. Fincher is never shy to the make the most of his cinematography. Even the overhead car tracking shots reveal that Fincher has still got tricks up his sleeve. The lighting, like in Se7en, is impeccable. Zodiac has some of highest production values that you can find in any contemporary classic.
Overall the Zodiac is a must see for the high pace suspense. So much goes on in so little time you should feel the urge to watch it again. When films do that, they give you a reason to own it. Fincher makes films that people with brains want to see.
In an era gone by when teen lovers are either slashed by dream demons with razor fingers or bludgeoned by a guy in a hockey mask (insert clown mask also), there is nothing more terrifying than the thought of a guy who breathes heavy on the end of the phone or calls in to a chat show to discuss his little problem of knifing up women while denying that his over-the-air shrieks from beyond this dimension are anything other than just his headache....more info
- Good Byeeeee.....................
Zodiac does an exceptional job of bringing the lunatic to the big screen.
The dude was nuts, no doubt!
I especially liked the first phone call at the end he says good byeeeeeeeeeee.............CREEPY!!!!!!!
Too bad they never caught the loser, if he's since passed away it's a pretty safe bet he's not in a very good place.
The pacing of the movie is spot on, and the film just reeks of atmosphere, something that's missing from most movies nowadays.
Just plain creepy.
The part in the basement, the phone calls, EVERYTHING, creepy, freaky!!!
I still can't believe this happened in real life!!!
Tragic and a shame that so many lives were ruined by this guy.
Zodiac is one of the best "horror" movies out there, not only is it a true story, but it doesn't fall into the usual Hollywood horror trappings.
Not so much a "horror" movie as a crime thriller.
Haunting, brilliant, superbly acted.
I can't believe how far Jake has come in his career since being the teen goof in "The Day After Tomorrow".
Brilliant and amazing from start to finish and one of the best movies to come out that year.
- GOOD STORY, SLOW MOVIE
3 1/2 STARS - I remember the news reports when I was a kid growing up in Sacramento and remember how uptight and worried my parents and others were. When I watched this movie I was so into the story but the movie seemed to be a bit boring and slow. At least they did not HOLLYWOOD it up too much and add unreal blow um up action scenes. True real life really is boring so this movie was about right on. I watched it and dug it but I can't see watching it again...maybe in a couple years i'll see it again.
I say watch it and see what you think. It is good enough to watch at least once....more info
Great experience. arrived on time and was in excellent condition. I will let all my friends know....more info
- Very good movie, though a bit slow at times, & great Acting by all !
I heard/read so much positives about this movie that I had to Buy it, even without first seeing it at the theater. Luckily I heard about a 2-disc Directors' Cut coming out when I was first thinking of buying, so I waited til this past month (Jan 08') to snag it. Robert Downey Jr. is very good as the been there/done that/Drank That somewhat Veteran reporter who gets involved in the case early on when the Letters from the Killer are mailed to his (along with a few others) newspapers editor. Jake Gyllenhal is the papers' cartoonist who is into word puzzles and the like, who is the main character pretty much in the movie. The Location shooting, the great sets, pretty much all the supporting cast, the period clothing/cars, etc., are all spot on. You think you're back in the late 60's, early 70's in the Frisco' area. If you're looking for a movie with a lot of killing or many, this is not that movie. They show a few, and how they might have played out based on the evidence and a few eyewitness reports, but the jist of the story is the killers notes to the police and the various attempts to track him down with the little evidence found. At about 2 hrs & 40 minutes or so, it is a Long movie, that I personally didn't felt dragged at all really, though some will beg to differ. It's a very very involved and detailed story and to gloss over major happenings would be an injustice to the storyline to save 20-30 mins of movie time. I'm sure it could have been 3+ hrs and prob. was well over that, before trimming began anyway! I say if you want to see whole story with many extras (Dir. Commentary, some documentary type stuff on the whole story itself, deleted scenes) you have to get the 2-disc Directors' Cut. If you just want to watch the movie, then get the regular version I guess. I found it a great movie and since it came out earlier in 2007, unfortunately overlooked for some Oscar consideration. Robert Downey Jr could have easily got a Best Supp. Actor nod, Jake G. perhaps a Best Actor Nom., and Chloe Sevigny a Supp Actress nom. as well. Director David Fincher Def. should have rec'd a Best Director bid for his work here....more info
- It was created the way it was percieved.
To my knowledge, The ZODIAC killings were known as "a riddie, wrapped around a mystery, wrapped aroung an enigma"; before I saw this David Fincher Classic."
In my opinion, a David Fincher film is an automatic, "must see". However, I made the moviegoing mistake of not seeing this film in the theatre. No worry. That's why Man invented the DVD. This . . . movie . . . is . . . amazing! Fincher does a captivating job of pulling the viewer in to the story. Yes, there was a monster of a man doing these horrible acts of human destruction. BUT, unlike most murder mysteries, Fincher's focus seems to be away from the "murderer" and closer to the horrific acts of violence. I as a viewer got the idea that the real main character could be described as "the desire to get to the truth" About this evildoer. Because of Fincher's style, the viewer must beware of the unconventional storytelling employed here. This ain't your average movie, folks. I would hope most "David Fincher fans" would agree.
- Good, but a little long
Zodiac is long. Maybe it just felt longer because I happened to be tired when I saw it. I am not going to sit through it again just to find out. Luckily it also happens to be very good with an excellent cast. There are no crazy car chases, shootouts, or fancy explosions and you don't even get the satisfaction of the capture of the Zodiac, yet it is still a solid film. What you get is a story that follows the methodical progress of police work and the investigation of a cartoonist turned journalist.
- Blu-ray version available from UK!
I don't know why, but for whatever reason Zodiac is released by Warner rather than Paramount in the UK. At the time of writing Paramount remain HD DVD exclusive, but you can pre-order (available end of April) the blu-ray version of this great film form amazon.co.uk and other UK sites. To the best of my knowledge all Warner releases are region free and should therefore play on US BD players and PS3s. ...more info
- I am not the Zodiac. And if I were, I certainly wouldn't tell you
The film is a police procedural crossed with a newspaper movie, but free of most of the cliches of either. Its most impressive accomplishment is to gather a bewildering labyrinth of facts and suspicions over a period of years, and make the journey through this maze frightening and suspenseful. I could imagine becoming hopelessly mired in the details of the Zodiac investigation, but director David Fincher ("Se7en") and his writer, James Vanderbilt, find their way with clarity through the murk. In a film with so many characters, the casting by Laray Mayfield is also crucial; like the only eyewitness in the case, we remember a face once we've seen it.
The film opens with a sudden, brutal, bloody killing, followed by others not too long after -- five killings the police feel sure Zodiac committed, although others have been attributed to him. But this film will not be a bloodbath. The killer does his work in the earlier scenes of the film, and then, when he starts sending encrypted letters to newspapers, the police and reporters try to do theirs.
The two lead inspectors on the case are David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards). Toschi, famous at the time, tutored Steve McQueen for "Bullitt" and was the role model for Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. Ruffalo plays him not as a hotshot but as a dogged officer who does things by the book because he believes in the book. Edwards' character, his partner, is more personally worn down by the sheer vicious nature of the killer and his taunts.
At the San Francisco Chronicle, although we meet several staffers, the key players are ace reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr., bearded, chain-smoking, alcoholic) and editorial cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal). These characters are real, and indeed the film is based on Graysmith's books about the case.
I found the newspaper office intriguing in its accuracy. For one thing, it is usually fairly empty, and it was true on a morning paper in those days that the office began to heat up closer to deadline Among the few early arrivals would have been the cartoonist, who was expected to work up a few ideas for presentation at the daily news meeting, and the office alcoholics, perhaps up all night, or already starting their recovery drinking. Yes, reporters drank at their desks 40 years ago, and smoked and smoked and smoked.
Graysmith is new on the staff when the first cipher arrives. He's like the curious new kid in school fascinated by the secrets of the big boys. He doodles with a copy of the cipher, and we think he'll solve it, but he doesn't. He strays off his beat by eavesdropping on cops and reporters, making friends with the boozy Avery, and even talking his way into police evidence rooms. Long after the investigation has cooled, his obsession remains, eventually driving his wife (Chloe Sevigny) to move herself and their children in with her mom. Graysmith seems oblivious to the danger he may be drawing into his home, even after he appears on TV and starts hearing heavy breathing over the phone
- Complicated, fascinating, and involving . . .
David Fincher is not known for directing deep, involving, thoughtful films, but this departure is a very good one. I remember the Zodiac killings when they were happening, and the fact that no one was ever caught, and the sense of frustration comes through in every frame. The extremely complex chain of events, stretching over a period of twenty years, is very smoothly handled. In fact, the editing -- which is crucial in a story like this -- is nearly perfect. The story comes mostly from the book by Robert Graysmith (nicely played here as an obsessed nerd by Jake Gyllenhaal). Mark Ruffalo plays the lead cop on the case, whose career is shaken in the process, and Robert Downey, Jr., plays Paul Avery, the San Francisco Chronicle crime reporter whom the case helps turn into an alcoholic. The story pulls the viewer in, winding you up in its web of facts and interpretations and hesitancies. The sloppiness of nearly all the cops is startling, as is the cavalier treatment of evidence by the journalists involved; I suspect people today, used to CSI on TV and to the widespread forensic use of DNA, would react quite differently. An excellent film....more info
- Not what I hoped for, but still a good bonus package
I really enjoyed the zodiac and the director's cut is certainly the way to go if you enjoyed it too. However, I really bought this for the extra features. I was disappointed. Nice featurettes, interesting interviews, but not as many as they could have done. If you liked the movie and want a little more info, this is for you. If you've already read Zodiac Unmasked + other books on the killings, the bonus features aren't very insightful or well organized....more info
- Zodiac Revealed
Zodiac (Two-Disc Director's Cut) [HD DVD]
This review refers to HD-DVD 2-disc edition set. Movie is sort of documentary type trying to accurately portray Zodiac killings from late '60s. It is pretty long at 2:42 minutes and somewhat boring. Killings occur within first hour while speculation and bogus theories continue until the end. Movie is based on the book Zodiac written by Robert Graysmith, cartoonist who worked at the time of killings at SF Chronicle newspaper. His findings about Zodiac are completely bogus pointing into wrong direction. After his book was published, police compared handwriting, DNA sample and fingerprints with Graysmith's main suspect Arthur Leigh Allen and conclusively find that he wasn't Zodiac.
Regardless of Graysmith's hallucinations, Fincher's movie is really good. Excellent directing not leaving a single detail untouched with gorgeous HD picture and very nice special effects that brought 70's back to the screen in fullest are worth watching. Thanks to being based on poorly written book I wouldn't give this movie more than 3 stars but the second disc with 3 and a half hours of extras including interviews with two survivors of Zodiac killings and other real life participants make this set superb recap of Zodiac killings worth watching for everyone interested in serial killers. That is why I gave 5 stars to this movie.
What people more want to know is who really Zodiac was. There hasn't been offered a single valid theory that would explain his killings and the man behind them. Only four killings were officially assigned as Zodiac's while the rest are unconfirmed.
1. David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16: Shot and killed on December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman Road just within the city limits of Benicia.
2. Michael Renault Mageau, 19, and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22: Shot on July 4, 1969, at the Blue Rock Springs Golf Course parking lot on the outskirts of Vallejo; Darlene was DOA at Kaiser Foundation Hospital, while Michael survived.
3. Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22: Stabbed on September 27, 1969 at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. Hartnell survived six stab wounds to the back, but Shepard died of her injuries two days later.
4. Paul Lee Stine, 29: Shot and killed on October 11, 1969, in Presidio Heights in San Francisco.
The key of finding Zodiac is the fourth killing where pattern of killing love couples in rural areas around San Francisco has been broken. I made some research and find out that fourth killing occurred exactly one year after shooting and killing of Michael Bunch, 19-year-old anti-war serviceman while trying to escape Presidio military base. He was confined for being AWOL and imprisoned together with other anti-war servicemen. It is strange that no one noticed this detail. Who is the killer and why?
Killer called himself Zodiac which is a circular or elliptical diagram representing this belt, and usually containing pictures of the animals, human figures, etc., that are associated with the constellations and signs. Duration of one cycle is one year and if you check out his killings you will see that all of them happened between October 11th, 1968 and October 11th, 1969. Motive is most obviously revenge for Bunch's killing and culprit according to Zodiac is society itself. He is most likely left-wing anti-war radical who wanted to change society by killings and terror. From details released by the police he was a GI probably working at Presidio or other military base. The best search for him would be to question all anti-war GIs stationed in San Francisco at that time, particularly group known as Nine4Peace that used to protest by chaining themselves to priests in churches in San Francisco Area in July of 1968.
Sign used by Zodiac is actually Celtic cross which might explain why he used it if we know that GIs protested at churches. It has nothing to do with Zodiac brand of watches and represents sun cross. Zodiac was clearly inspired by religion and mythology in his first deciphered letter when he mentioned his victims becoming his slaves to serve him in paradise. The most difficult part is how did he choose his killing dates? These dates actually reveal true message of Zodiac while cyphered letters were just a decoy.
Zodiac message is Nine4Justice Presidio. First killings were under Sagittarius which is ninth sign of Zodiac, second one were under Cancer which is fourth sign of Zodiac, third one were under Libra which is number seven but stands for justice and final killing was on the anniversary of killing of Michael Bunch. It happened on Presidio Heights and then after killing he went straight to Presidio military base.
If you examine mythology of these astral signs you can find out that Sagittarius is associated with Satyr who represents sex drive. That's why he killed love couples in the first place. Cancer is associated with hydra which represents corrupt society that needs to be cut and sealed by fire to prevent it from further corruption. That's why he kills not talk or try to convince others in his ideas. Libra as already mentioned represents justice. Some also wondered about why Zodiac uses two stamps. All numbers divided by 2 are called even. Since he is done all those killings as a revenge to get EVEN for killing of Michael Bunch then it makes perfect sense to use two stamps to point this out.
I intentionally wrote this review on 40th anniversary of killing of Michael Bunch that started Zodiac killings. I sincerely hope that he will be caught or if dead, his identity revealed to bring back some peace to the victims of his gruesome killings....more info
- Review of the blu ray 2 disc edition
Wow. The blu ray presentation of ZODIAC is absolutely spectacular and everything that was great about this film is exemplified 100% as blu ray is used to its fullest effect. This film has always been a 5 star outing for me. It takes a new approach to true crime and instead follows the lengthy journey of police and reporters as they follow the leads and try to find the mysterious Zodiac killer. The ensemble cast is exemplary with all doing some of their best work. Some of the killings are shown and they are done without over the top gore. Instead they are realistically shot which instills an even greater fear into the viewer. When the killer approaches a couple and the woman exclaims "He has a gun !!" my insides quiver as if it was happening to me.
The film manages to follow the history of the Zodiac's killings while being a police procedural and investigative piece all at the same time. The viewer feels how each characters life is involved with and changed by this case. There is trepidation, suspense and great drama with a superb script and amazing directing.
Now, back to the blu ray version of this film. This is a brand new release and I needed an update on my blu ray player to view it. Very easy to do. And the 1080 high def pic is striking. The visual clarity is amazing and darks, brights, etc. are all excellent. Day and night scenes are both just as vibrant. And the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio is amazing. This seems to be a film basically dialogue driven but all 5 speakers are put to amazing use here. The dialogue is totally crisp and this film also possesses an amazing score of 70s music. It comes from all the speakers as does city background noise. All 5 speakers are continuously in use. It is as if viewing the film for the 1st time and I was in awe. This audion track makes the film a new experience.
And for me this 2 disc Director's cut is the first blu ray to take advantage and provide exemplary special features. There is an extensive commentary with the film and disc 2 contains a documentary on the making of the film, an in depth look at the prime suspect thru real participants in the search and most importantly an almost 2 hour feature length documentary THIS IS THE ZODIAC SPEAKING which chronicles every aspect of the investigation including in depth interviews with even surviving victims. All the special features are presented in HD and are worth the price of this set in themselves.
This film is a quality piece of work and this 2 disc Directors Cut blu ray shows blu ray at its best and is a must. I highly recommend it. ...more info
- Overlooked gem of 2007
Most people missed this unique gem from one of cinema's great visionary directors. David Fincher arguably delivers his most mature film in this fascinating and beautiful crime drama about obsession. One of the top films of 2007. ...more info
- Overly long but a decent flick
There was no way Zodiac needed to be as long as it was. It dragged not long into it, though I really tried to embrace this film. It is a very dry type of film with a lot of different timelines and confusing aspects to keep track of. There is almost too much going on, but at the same time, there really is no actual action. There is some suspence and mystery, but for a film and true life event where there was no acual ending, it didn't really matter. There is alot of facts, but also alot of speculation and fabrication going on with this movie.
The story of the Zodiac killer is actually quite interesting but again, since the case was never really solved, and with the movie not really doing anything except revisiting that span of time, the movie feels a tad wasted.
The acting is really the redeaming quality of this film, with everyone doing a fantastic and believable job, especially Robert Downey Jr and Jake Gyllenhaal. They really worked well onscreen. However, a major fact remains that their respective characters were actually never even friends in real life. According to imdb, their relationship was 'fictionalized for the film'.
Perhaps this film needs more than one viewing to really appreciate it and to understand the key players and the facts about the crimes, but I don't think I can sit through almost 2 and a half hours again of boring dialogue....more info
- Very Entertaining
One of the best Robert Downey, Jr. movies. He takes from personal experience being an alcoholic/druggy and it comes across a screen. Really great story line. Definitely a movie that will be around for a while....more info
"Zodiac" had a couple of really good scare moments, but this movie is way too long and uneven in my opinion. Great performances all around especially by Jake Gyllenhal and Mark Ruffalo, good soundtrack, all come together in a slow-paced thriller that could have benefited from shortening. Overall, well worth at least renting....more info
- Worth Watching
All of Fincher's commentaries are worth listening to. He's interesting and a true iconoclast. All the extras help to illustrate a very good film. The ending is frustrating, because it's a murder mystery without knowing who the killer is. That, of course, is the intention. Watch this and then go see Benjamin Button....more info