Saturday, March 21, 2009


I took a real interest in this movie because I had read a lot about the Zodiac killer who was at large in the 1970's in California. He was never caught and there were some suspects, but a real lack of evidence to connect them to the crimes. This was a well-acted, interesting account of the unsolved case of the Zodiac. They stuck to the facts too, which I was impressed with. It was directed by David Fincher who has also directed Fight Club, Seven and Panic Room.

The film follows the case of the Zodiac killer and we see a killing as it happened in 1969. We don't see who the killer is obviously. Then we cut to the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle where Paul Avery(Robert Downey Jnr) is working along with cartoonist Robert Graysmith(Jake Gyllenhaal). A letter is delivered to the editor of the paper and it is from the Zodiac. It is encrypted and Robert is very interested in trying to break the code. He is not taken seriously by the others in the office and he tries to find out all he can about the Zodiac case. He talks to Paul about it and he tells him his ideas about the Zodiac. He turns out to be right about a lot of things and Paul begins to take him seriously.

We cut to the two cops investigating the Zodiac killings, Dave Toschi(Mark Ruffalo) and Bill Armstrong(Anthony Edwards- yes I wondered where he had been hiding too!) They have a very difficult job of trying to find clues to the killings and they become frustrated when they are hitting a brick wall. The killer continues with his letters and he calls in to a show on TV to talk with a respected lawyer,Melvin Belli(Brian Cox). Paul Avery and Robert try and find the answers to the many questions which surround this case. A suspect turns up. He is called Arthur Leigh Allen(John Carroll Lynch) who seems to fit the profile perfectly. There are so many coincidences that the cops think that they have found their man, but there is no evidence to connect Allen with the Zodiac.

The cops become disheartened when they cannot match Allen to the crimes. They move on from the case and it is left unsolved and open. Robert is still intrigued by the case and he contacts Paul a few years later, only to find that he is a wreck and that he can't be of any help to him. He decides to write a book on Zodiac and he follows up leads that the cops missed. He gets help from Dave Toschi, but eventually he stops helping him. Robert loses his job at the paper and his wife leaves him too. He is exasperated when writing samples and fingerprints suggest that it is not Allen who is the Zodiac. Robert is still convinced and he seeks Allen. He finds him working in a hardware store and he enters and stares at him. We cut to 1983 and a survivor from one of the killings is shown a photo of Arthur Leigh Allen and identifies him as the man who shot him and killed his girlfriend. It is too late then for anything to happen and the film leaves it like that. I was very impressed with this movie and I liked the way that it told the truth without being tempted to get too emotional. I am going to give this a 9/10.


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