Retrospective Film Review: David Fincher’s Zodiac

David Fincher’s mesmerising and terrifying 2007 account of the notorious serial killer who killed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area in the late ’60s is probably one of the greatest crime films ever made.

Much has been made of Fincher’s exhausting multi-take MO and intricate attention to detail and here, over two and a half electrifying hours, his mastery is exposed with all its beautifully complex detailing. It’s all evocatively located, designed and scored, and the meticulously constructed and reproduced period sets and pindrop-sharp sound design help ground this film in the horrifying reality where it belongs. I’ve always thought of Jake Gyllenhaal as a kind of male Jodie Foster – able to convince despite how ropey everything else feels – and this is arguably his best role. He plays Robert Graysmith, cartoonist, code-decipherer, journalist, and as the film goes on, unrelenting obsessive, determined to pursue the mystery all the way down the rabbit hole, however dark and infinite it may get. David Shire’s restrained, moody music lends an unsettling tone to proceedings and there’s some of the most incredible and seamless CGI you’ll never notice. It’s long, but involving, and disturbingly, nightmarishly hypnotic.

Words: Ash Verjee