Zodiac Zodiac
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Film Date :   March 2, 2007
Genre :   Drama Thriller Crime   
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Zodiacis a 2007 American mystery - thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith 's non-fiction book of the same name . The Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. joint production stars Jake Gyllenhaal , Mark Ruffalo , and Robert Downey, Jr.

Zodiactells the story of the hunt for a notorious serial killer known as " Zodiac " who killed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s, leaving several victims in his wake and taunting police with letters and ciphers mailed to newspapers. The case remains one of San Francisco's most infamous unsolved crimes.

Fincher, screenwriter James Vanderbilt, and producer Brad Fischer spent 18 months conducting their own investigation and research into the Zodiac murders. During filming, Fincher employed the digital Thomson Viper Filmstream camera to shoot the film. Contrary to popular belief,Zodiacwas not shot entirely digitally; traditional high-speed film cameras were used for slow-motion murder sequences.

Reviews for the film were highly positive. However, it did not perform strongly at the North American box office , grossing only USD $33 million. It performed better in other parts of the world, earning $51 million. This brought its box office total to $84 million, with a budget of $65 million spent on its production.

The film opens on July 4, 1969, with the Zodiac killer’s second attack, the shooting of Darlene Ferrin (Ciara Hughes) and Mike Mageau ( Lee Norris ) at a lovers' lane in Vallejo, California . Mageau survives while Ferrin dies from her injuries.

One month later, a letter written by the Zodiac arrives at theSan Francisco Chronicle. Paul Avery ( Robert Downey, Jr. ) is aChroniclecrime reporter. Robert Graysmith ( Jake Gyllenhaal ) is a political cartoonist there. The newspaper receives encrypted letters that the killer sends, taunting the police. Because of Graysmith's status as a cartoonist, he is not taken seriously by Avery and the editors and is excluded from the initial details about the killings despite his interest in the case. In particular, he is drawn to the encrypted code that is included with the letters and is given access to one. When he is able to crack one of the codes and makes several correct guesses about the killer's actions, Avery begins sharing information with him.

The Zodiac killer attacks again, stabbing Bryan Hartnell ( Patrick Scott Lewis ) and Cecelia Shepard ( Pell James ) at Lake Berryessa in Napa County . Shepard dies as a result of the attack, while Hartnell survives. Soon afterward, San Francisco taxicab driver Paul Stine is shot and killed in the city's Presidio Heights district. San Francisco police detectives Dave Toschi ( Mark Ruffalo ) and his partner Bill Armstrong ( Anthony Edwards ) are assigned to the case, liaising with other detectives such as Jack Mulanax ( Elias Koteas ) in Vallejo and Ken Narlow ( Donal Logue ) in Napa. The killer, or someone posing as him, continues to toy with authorities by speaking on the phone with celebrity lawyer Melvin Belli ( Brian Cox ) when he makes an appearance on a television talk show. Avery and Graysmith form an alliance, delving deeper into the case.

In 1971, Toschi, Armstrong and Mulanax question Arthur Leigh Allen ( John Carroll Lynch ), a potential suspect in the case. However, a handwriting expert ( Philip Baker Hall ) insists that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters. Avery receives a new letter threatening his life. He becomes increasingly paranoid and turns to drugs and alcohol. At one point, he shares information with a rival police force which angers Toschi and Armstrong.

By 1975, Avery leaves theChronicle. Armstrong quits the homicide division, and Toschi is demoted for supposedly forging a Zodiac letter. Graysmith, meanwhile, continues his own in-depth investigation, interviewing witnesses and police detectives involved in the case. Obsessing over the unsolved case, he begins receiving anonymous phone calls with heavy breathing (on the night of Ferrin's death, Graysmith discovered that someone prank-called the victim's family and did the same thing). Because of his submersion in the case, Graysmith loses his job and his wife Melanie ( Chloë Sevigny ) leaves him, taking their children with her.

Graysmith persistently contacts Toschi about the Zodiac murders and eventually impresses the veteran detective with his knowledge of the case. While Toschi cannot directly give Graysmith access to the information he discovered over the years, he provides contacts of other police departments in counties where the other murders occurred. The cartoonist acquires more information that points to Allen as the Zodiac, and although circumstantial evidence seems to indicate his guilt, the hard evidence, such as fingerprints and handwriting samples, exonerate him.

In December 1983, a full 14 years after the original slayings, Graysmith tracks down Allen to a Vallejo hardware store, where he is employed as a salesclerk. After Allen asks if he can help Graysmith with anything, they stare at each other for a moment with blank expressions before Graysmith simply replies with a 'No,' and leaves the hardware store.

Eight years later, in 1991, Mageau ( Jimmi Simpson ) meets with authorities and identifies Allen from a police mugshot .

Final title cards, however, inform the audience that Allen died in 1992 before he could be further questioned by police, and that DNA tests performed in 2002 did not match samples gathered from the Zodiac letters.

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