A beast of a thriller directed by David Fincher and based on a book of the same name by Robert Graysmith, Zodiac (2007) is a story that technically has no ending. Zodiac is a compelling tale of obsession and criminal riddle-solving whilst a serial killer stalks his prey. Its synopsis is as follows:
A serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area taunts police with his letters and cryptic messages. We follow the investigators and reporters in this lightly fictionalized account of the true 1970’s case as they search for the murderer, becoming obsessed with the case. Based on Robert Graysmith’s book, the movie’s focus is the lives and careers of the detectives and newspaper people. (source)
I really enjoyed this film. A compelling story, with a clever script, the film also boasts a stellar ensemble cast. Jake Gyllenhaal leads the charge as cartoonist-turned-crimefighter Robert Graysmith, author of the source material of the film, with great support by Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo. As aforementioned, if you’re aware of the story of the Zodiac Killer, you may already know that this film was destined to have a bit of an ambiguous ending. But rather than this being frustrating, we instead see this conundrum through the eyes of the people obsessed with the case, and the impact of this ambiguity upon them; giving the film’s story more of a concrete quality rather than ending on the myriad of questions that are left over in relation to the case.
Zodiac is also shot beautifully, with typically excellent direction by David Fincher. Cinematographer Harris Savides chooses muted, warm tones for that comfortable vintage feel, with threatening shadows and light during fairly brutal murder scenes to heighten the tension. Savides also worked his visual magic on other beautifully photographed films such as The Bling Ring (2013), Somewhere (2010), and Milk (2008); all films which have their own distinct visual identity.
Here is a selection of my favourite shots from the film, mixed up so as to avoid spoilers as much as possible.
Watch the trailer here.