Writers: James Vanderbilt, Robert Graysmith
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr.
A San Fransisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.
I saw the film for the first time some 4-5 years back and thought it was Fincher's best work. I stand by that claim. Many of his films like Se7en does rely on the shock factor which makes them not that interesting on rewatches. Zodiac is the complete opposite with it being a slow burner and still having several edge of the seat scenes. That basement scene was terrifying even this time round even though I knew what was going to happen. The three principal characters the cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), the crimes reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) and the investigating officer David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) become obsessed with the case and the film is also about how the case affected these people. It is mainly based on Robert Graysmith's book and Fincher ordered further re-writes to the script when he came on board since they were kind of implicating a man posthumously for the murders. Even more research was done and further interviews were conducted with some of the people that were shown in the film.
The initial cut of the film was over three hours long and some of the cuts were made on Fincher using music popular from those times to show the passage of time between the events. Instead they used writings to indicate the transition. Still one four year passage is shown by reading news headlines from those times against a blank screen. Films concerning news organizations have always been some of my all time favorites like All the President's Men, Insider and Network. The newspaper office scenes in Zodiac would remind one off All The President's Men.
If I were to rank Fincher's films based on what I have seen the order would be:
2) Fight Club
4) Social Network
6) The Panic Room
Zodiac is certainly the best film showcasing his directorial talent but Fight Club is the best representation of his style. 2007 was certainly a great year for films with No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood going head to head for most of the awards.