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Generally favorable reviews- based on 331 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 331

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  1. May 9, 2011
    A work of genius in storytelling by David Fincher in what is a phenominal adaption of the killings of the Zodiac killer. Clever casting for the lead roles leads to some outstanding performances by Jake Gyllenhall, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. The film itself is long, some might say to long but the every detail, big and small is so precise and is key to Fincher conveying his take on events and also in showing the effects the Zodiac has on each character. But don't let how long the film is put you off because its so compelling and intense yet intriguing that it keeps you following the story and wanting to see whats going to happen next. Ofcourse the main point of story is based on the murders of the Zodiac killer but the main theme is how the killings affect each character and gradually wares them down with initially, the lack evidence to identify a suspect and then later to make a proper conviction. Downey dazzles as a journalist investigating the murders that brings him new found popularity which leads him down the drugs route due to the frustration and inability to find the man responsible, Ruffalo is is fantastic form and delivers a magestic performance as a cop tasked with finding the Zodiac, Gyllenhall is the surprise of the show for me, his portray of a strange and peculiar yet inspiring cartoonist, Robert, is tremendous, but Finchers choice in John Carroll Lynch as Arthur Leigh Arthur was genius as his depiction of the prime suspect is fabulously creepy and encapsulates the reason why he is the prime suspect to perfection. All in all Zodiac is a truely exceptional piece of filmmaking and something that you simply cannot afford to miss out on. Expand
  2. CRL
    Aug 15, 2011
    This is a hard movie for me to rate, for a myriad of reasons. Zodiac is based on a true story; Robert Graysmith's book of the same name. To be able to take such a convoluted story and condense it into a movie is an achievement in itself. The acting is fantastic from all parties, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing the main role of both naive cartoonist and possessed civilian-detective to a fault. The script is good; it even manages to throw in a laugh here or there, and the cinematography, at some points, is excellent. Then there's the plot, which could easily be separated into two (and a half) parts. There's the beginning, while the murders are happening and the case it hot, which to me, this is easily the weaker portion of the film. The story at that point is slow and laborious, with too many people saying too many different things each with not enough airtime. The middle (the half part) is the three seconds the film takes to jump four years, during which it becomes a cold case. Then comes the end, which is entirely focused on Robert Graysmith's (Gyllenhaal) hunt for the Zodiac Killer. Not only then does Zodiac become suspenseful, but it almost reaches the Olympian heights of Fincher's other serial killer thriller, Se7en. In the end, the pros outweigh the cons, and leave you with a movie that is a bit too long and just maybe a bit too true... but nonetheless an entertaining and sometimes fascinating film. Expand
  3. Dec 10, 2011
    Treating James Vanderbilt's screenplay with a natural talent of a capable filmmaker by mixing suspenseful sequences with haunting pauses, David Fincher makes of Zodiac a good addition to the thriller genre.
  4. LDM
    Nov 9, 2011
    Incredible film. Suspenseful, engrossing, chilling. Everything about it (acting, script, cinematography, score) is brilliant. Fincher at his absolute best.
  5. Dec 8, 2011
    Zodiac is a near perfect film. While it takes on the same manner of story telling as All the President's Men, it does not quite match the classic film's essence, but all in all it becomes something great. It is a rarity to see a film about a serial killer in today's market not filled with gore and violence for the sake of gore and violence. It also becomes rarer when that film focuses on the characters on the outside looking in: the news reporters, the police, etc. Again it becomes rarer when the actors have the capacity to truly bring out their respective character's persona and do so not just well, but beyond the viewer's expectations. Zodiac manages to do all of this while blending together terrific directing and a pace that just flows with the two and a half hour length so that the film remains an interesting, though all around disturbing, tale of humanity's deepest depths of violence and hatred rather than a sluggish bore, even without a focus on gallons of blood and severed limbs. In the end, this is a film that stands in contrast to Saw, Hostel, and all the other blood baths being pushed in front of us. It is a film that is actually good, perhaps more than good. Expand
  6. Jan 22, 2014
    Written and flows to pure perfection as good as anything. Performances are top-notch and fincher's exquisite storytelling is dramatic sizzles of fun that involves you in it's business until Zodiac no longer becomes a suspect, it becomes the poetry of determination, charismatic orientation and discussion that rambles without insanity. You don't want it to end; Zodiac reminds us of how movies should be made, and that sums up the best film of 2007. Expand
  7. Aug 28, 2014
    This movie is based on a true story - and acts much like one. The story moves in plunges, which reminded me of a possible investigation of a crime like this: there are often silent, slow moments before things move on again with driving madness. The end is left mostly open, even while it does mark the conclusion for some of the characters. And the characters are what makes the movie really click. It is not clear who they are, exactly, because none of them really land on the limelight, but it is easy to perceive what they represent, and what they are there for, in terms of invetigation and story-telling. They strive to reach the truth is almost self-destructively.

    Nice portrayals from a soft-voiced Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhall and always awesome Robert Downey Jr.
  8. Nov 2, 2013
    Amazing film. The eerie mood created by Fincher leaves you on the edge of your seat the entire time. There may not be much action, but the story still manages to hook you in and keep you interested for the full 150+ minutes. On that note, it may be 150+ minutes, but it certainly does not feel like that in the least.
  9. Nov 7, 2012
    Zodiac is an ingenious labyrinth of a film that conveniently hits its climax just as we think its slowing down on us. This is great filmmaking from David Fincher, one of the greats of our time.
  10. Nov 28, 2012
    David Fincher delivers a pretty entertaining thriller with "Zodiac". The story follows several men who become obsessed with the infamous Zodiac Killer and his reign of terror over the San Francisco Bay area during the 60s and 70s. The movie delves deep into what happens to investigators when their cases go unsolved, and how far they'll go to uncover the truth. All in all, I felt that "Zodiac" was a pretty well-crafted film - especially in a technical sense. David Fincher implements a number of convoluted CG techniques to recreate the Zodiac Killer murders and certain areas of San Francisco. Fincher also filmed the majority film using the digital Thomsom Viper camera, something that, at the time, was relatively innovative. The acting was pretty great, I felt that every actor delivered their roles with the utmost accuracty. Also, the script seemed very well written and fairly convincing. As a film, "Zodiac" really does it's job of making you feel as though you are chasing after the elusive killer himself. Expand
  11. Jan 11, 2014
    Now that the criminal mastermind flick has become a set type, widely overdone, this film tends to get easily shrugged off as yet another film about an ultra-intelligent serial killer who is always one step ahead of the cops, yes just like Seven. Still though, this film is quite different. Zodiac has nowhere near as much internal darkness bursting from its seams.

    But Zodiac is dark, just
    not Seven dark. Even though Zodiac is still a murder-thriller, it’s tone compared to Seven, is a like a lovely ray of sunshine. Being that this storyline is all loosely based on actual events, enacting the film out in the time period during which it occurred, the late 60’s-early 70’s gives the film a freshness, a nostalgia that seems to come with those decades.

    The plot: In an age before mail bombs and anthrax scares, a killer toys with his pursuers by leaving complex clues just above their tracker’s radars, just out of reach of their capabilities, the chase then becomes perpetual, the madness wide spread- reporters, cops, victim’s families, all exposed to the madness. Society engulfing.

    The lighting, the darkness, the shadows, the string dissonance, and the rain of course: all hugely important to Fincher’s work, perhaps his most important set of tricks, perhaps they could even be called Finchinian, or would it be Ficheresque? They pop up in all this films.

    In the real tense bits we get close, claustrophobic shots, bare-bones dialogue, tense body

    language, the potential victim’s fear seeping almost literally thought the screen, then BAM! Scene complete. No sentimentality.

    None of Fincher’s tactics in creating suspense come across as clichés. These are textbook lessons in how to frame a successful suspense scene. In a thriller the actor is a part of the puzzle. Like a part of complex musical arrangement, all the players need to play their parts perfectly.

    In thrillers the character is thrown into an extreme situation, an abyss created by the filmmaker, and Zodiac, unlike Panic Room, is a bottomless abyss. Great performances are made by the actor’s that find the rawest, ravenous ways to claw their ways out, even if the character fails.

    During Zodiac, Jake Gyllehaal was still coming up in the ranks. He had not fully moved on to the badass action hero roles he plays today and in his underling position in the film, as a cartoonist constantly getting in the way of the “real” reporters, he becomes an interesting underdog of a main character, even though he’s not supposed to be the main attraction. A pleasure to watch, we know, and he knows, he is in a subservient role and he never breaks out of it .

    Thrillers are the king of film as the symphony is king of music. Great symphonies are difficult to execute. So many elements, so many moving parts, everything must align perfectly, so when that moment of suspense is created, in both thriller and symphony, whether scene of movement, we stand in awe.

    Zodiac has those moments.
  12. Mar 29, 2014
    Knowing the way David Fincher's movies work, I was expecting a twist at the end, and I was disappointed when there wasn't one. However, Zodiac is still terrifyingly creepy, eerie, and its suspense level rises into Hitchcockian territory. Fincher's refusal to tie up loose ends in the movie as far as leads doesn't seek to confuse; instead, it seeks for the viewer to try to solve this case in his/her head. And for that fact alone, this movie stands out above the average genre fare. Expand
  13. May 22, 2012
    This isn't your typical Hollywood drivel dominated by special effects, and it's not a film for your typical short-attention-span-moviegoers; instead, it's a riveting analysis of the most definitive evidence in the case. I guess some people found it lacking in the typical blockbuster flash, but in my book that's a really GOOD thing. The characters are all very well-acted, and the screenplay was quite good. As they say, the truth is stranger than fiction, and this presentation of the Zodiac case is truly as compelling as they come. Excellent job. Expand
  14. Feb 17, 2011
    A good movie....
    climax is not up to the mark...
    well narrated... every fincher fan may be disappointed at last with such an end...
    but based on a true story..only this could be possible...
  15. Oct 11, 2011
    the movie started out good and played great, but it had a real is-that-it ending, and that spoiled the experience a bit for me.
  16. Jul 17, 2012
    Yeah, well, I thought the story had potential, but when I watched it, it was just so boring. The characters I liked because they were played by some of my favourite actors - Robert Downey Jr, for example. Of course, even less than halfway through the film, everything just seemed to fade away, trying to look clever for its own sake. The actors were barely able to keep the script alive. But it didn't even manage to keep it all together - from something based on a serial killer, seriously! When a film has a serial killer in it, you've got to make it exciting! Where was the tension, the heart pounding moments? I know this was a true story, but that does not automatically make the film watch-able, let alone successful. Expand
  17. Jan 1, 2012
    I thought it was good and it did keep your interest through out the film. Yet it didnt offer anything new to the legend that is the Zodiac. Just was really just a re-telling of an old theory that was fitted for the big screen. The star studded cast definently raised this film above what it should have been and the acting was solid through out. Overall it was worth the watch if you want to understand the Zodiac more but if you are familiar with it then chances are you wont learn anything new. Expand
  18. Aug 29, 2014
    Hmm...Zodiac was 162 mins long, the first hour was solid, then I did not know where the movie was going but I knew it won't be as good as the first hour because it felt lost. The performances were very good but the tone of the movie did not live up to the grittiness of the story which was distracting.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Firing on all cylinders as a creepy thriller, police procedural and "All the President's Men"-style investigative newsroom drama, the smart, extremely vivid production oozes period authenticity.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Conveying an astonishing array of information across a long narrative arc while still maintaining dramatic rhythm and tension, this adaptation of Robert Graysmith's bestseller reps by far director David Fincher's most mature and accomplished work.
  3. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    Zodiac exhausts more than one genre. Termite art par excellence, it burrows for the sake of burrowing, as fascinated by its own nooks and crannies as "Inland Empire."