Blu-ray Zodiac [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray 16259100),
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David Fincher's (FIGHT CLUB, SE7EN) adaptation of the Robert Graysmith book masterfully transports viewers to the Bay Area in the 1960s and '70s by drawing on actual case files from the notoriously unsolved Zodiac killer mystery. As a murderer with seemingly random targets starts sending terrifying threats and cryptic codes to police and publishers all around San Francisco, fear and paranoia descend on the city. Through slow pacing, Fincher creates an effectively chilling atmosphere in which he spins a thick web of character-driven plotlines. Early scenes depicting the Zodiac's first-known murders vividly capture the victim's fear and agony and will leave viewers haunted. When the Zodiac's ciphers arrive at the San Francisco Chronicle, they spark the interest of Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), a young cartoonist with a penchant for puzzles. As the former Boy Scout earnestly tries to decode the messages, eccentric reporter Paul Avery approaches the case from a career-boosting angle. Meanwhile, a string of investigators from four jurisdictions carry on a complex and unsatisfying search for the elusive killer. Inspectors Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards) at times collide with Avery and Graysmith, whose interest in the case extends long after most have given up.
Even at two-and-a-half hours in length, this dense murder mystery should manage to keep its audience riveted throughout. Paired with stellar performances from Ruffalo, Downey, Gyllenhaal, and countless others, a clever script produces well-developed characters, and the film's art direction, music, and costumes all combine to create an authentic sense of time and place. The somber tone of the atmospheric thriller gives the film a documentary-like aesthetic at times, lending weight to the story's facts while never relying on cheap tricks. Unlike murder mysteries such as THE BLACK DAHLIA, ZODIAC invites viewers to develop theories of their own, allowing them to come to their own conclusions.
Robert Downey, Anthony Edwards, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Mark Ruffalo, Chlo Sevigny, Chloe Sevigny, Ione Skye, Ione Skye Leitch, Clea DuVall, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, John Carroll Lynch, Dermot Mulroney, Donal Logue, Pell James, Jimmi Simpson, Charles Fleischer
"Conveying an astonishing array of information across a long narrative arc while still maintaining dramatic rhythm and tension....David Fincher's most mature and accomplished work."
"[With] arresting performances...and the visual virtuosity of thriller auteur David Fincher."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[The actors] are brilliant, with Downey turning in a performance of elegant dissolution worthy of the great O'Toole."
"[M]agnificently obsessive....[A] testament to the cinematic savant's gifts....[The actors are] all at the top of their performance game..."
New York Times
5 stars out of 5 -- "ZODIAC is a taut, exceptionally well-executed crime thriller that makes detailed use of its source material..."
4 stars out of 5 -- "Complementing cinematic sizzle is supreme ensemble acting, starting with Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo."
5 stars out of 5 -- "The high-def digital camerawork is stunning and there are sublime shots that herald Fincher as one of the most technically accomplished directors alive."
"[A] vastly intricate and dazzling drama....It spins your head in a new way, luring you into a vortex and then deeper still, fascinating as much for what we don't know as what we do." -- Grade: A
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[A] meticulous, mind-bending, nonstop mesmerizer of a movie....Something unique and unmissable."
"[ZODIAC] potently blends the dynamics of the newsroom drama with those of the police procedural."
Sight and Sound
"[B]oth the year's headiest and most pleasurable movie."
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