Zodiac Review – A Case With No End

Zodiac: A Case With No End

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4 Min Read
Posted: September 29, 2023

“Zodiac” is a 2007 thriller film directed by David Fincher, based on the true story of the Zodiac Killer. The Zodiac Killer was an unidentified serial killer who operated in the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The movie portrays the chilling events surrounding the Zodiac Killer and the intense investigation that followed.

The majority of the movie is set in the bustling city of San Francisco during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This period was marked by social and cultural upheaval, with anti-war protests, and the Summer of Love dominating the city’s landscape.


Obsession and compulsion emerge as central motifs, as characters like Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and Inspector David Toschi (played by Mark Ruffalo) become consumed by their relentless pursuit of the Zodiac Killer. The film explores the destructive nature of such obsessions, showcasing the toll it takes on their personal lives.

Another prominent theme is the elusive nature of truth and identity. As the Zodiac Killer remains unidentified, the movie grapples with the concept of an ever-elusive truth. Characters in law enforcement and the media become fixated on uncovering the killer’s identity, seeking closure and justice.

Additionally, fear and paranoia pervade the narrative, as the Zodiac Killer’s reign of terror instills a sense of dread in the community. The film captures the atmosphere of fear, both on the streets of San Francisco and within the minds of those investigating the case. The constant threat and paranoia lead to a sense of unease and tension .

Robert Downey Jr.'s character talks to Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist who becomes obsessed with the Zodiac Killer

Robert Downey Jr.’s character talks to Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist who becomes obsessed with the Zodiac Killer


Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a captivating portrayal of Robert Graysmith, showcasing his transformation from an innocent enthusiast to an obsessed and determined individual. Mark Ruffalo‘s portrayal of Inspector David Toschi brings a sense of integrity to the screen, depicting a dedicated detective haunted by an unsolved case. Robert Downey Jr. delivers a memorable performance as Paul Avery, a flamboyant crime reporter who descends into paranoia

The ensemble cast effectively captures the psychological toll of the characters’ obsessions, showcasing the toll it takes on their relationships and mental well-being. The actors immerse viewers into the world of the film, allowing them to empathize with the characters’ struggles.


Zodiac: Jake Gyllenhall's character analyses a film strip

Zodiac: Jake Gyllenhall’s character analyses a film strip

The use of dimly lit streets, fog-filled nights, and a somber color palette dominated by greys and blues creates an eerie and unsettling ambiance, effectively capturing the sense of fear and paranoia prevalent throughout the story. The camera work is precise and deliberate, with steady tracking shots and precise framing that immerse viewers into the world of the film.

Fincher’s signature style of meticulous compositions and long takes adds to the sense of unease and tension, heightening the suspense in key moments. The cinematography in “Zodiac” serves as a powerful storytelling tool, allowing viewers to feel the psychological weight and intensity of the characters’ experiences while accentuating the dark and haunting nature of the narrative.


One criticism often mentioned is the film’s lengthy runtime, which clocks in at over two and a half hours. Some viewers may find certain portions of the movie to be slow-paced, resulting in a sense of pacing issues and potential fatigue. Additionally, the complex nature of the story, spanning several years and multiple characters, may occasionally lead to confusion or a lack of clarity regarding the progression of the investigation.

While this can be seen as a reflection of the real-life complexities of the Zodiac case, it might leave some viewers wanting more narrative focus or a tighter structure. Despite these minor defects, the film’s overall strengths, such as its compelling performances and atmospheric cinematography, ultimately outweigh these shortcomings, making “Zodiac” an engrossing and memorable cinematic experience.

Final Score: 8/10


  • Gripping throughout
  • Fantastic performances from the leads
  • Informative about the actual case


  • Messy at times
  • May drag on for some

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