Se7en director David Fincher returns to the scene of the crime with another engrossing yarn about a serial killer. The film is based on Robert Graysmith’s books about the real life Zodiac, who terrorised San Francisco with a series of random murders in the 1960s and 1970s.
After a stomach churning opening that is confusing and over the top, Fincher tones down the blood in favour of a police procedural movie that is more French Connection than Cruising. Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) heads the investigation and follows one red herring after another. The myriad of suspects he interviews are a bizarre, varied and captivating bunch. However the scariest and most unnerving characters are those working for The San Francisco Chronicle. A deadringer for Eddie Izzard, Robert Downey Jr plays Paul Avery, an alcoholic journalist assigned to the case. The obsession of Avery and Toschi in catching Zodiac leads to their downfall. It’s when a cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes a shine to the Zodiac’s penchant for sending cryptic messages to the newspaper that it becomes clear that the template for this movie is All The President’s Men. It’s Fincher’s attention to detail that makes Zodiac so remarkable and his most mature, rather than his most entertaining, work.