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  • Writer's pictureMasoud Kazemi

Zodiac: A Criminally Underrated Crime Film

Zodiac, starring Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and RDJ, is one of David Fincher’s finest crime films.


David Fincher, undoubtedly one of the best filmmakers of our generation, is known primarily for directing films like Fight Club, Se7en, The Social Network, and more. But if there is one thing he specializes in, it's creating great crime-themed movies. Among all the films Fincher has made in the crime genre, Zodiac is one of the best and most under-appreciated of them.


The story of the Zodiac is about a serial killer who killed many people during the late 60s but never was caught and identified. The film is based on the two books written by Robert Graysmith, the movie's main character, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Unlike Se7en, one of Fincher's most successful films, this story focuses entirely on the case and its progress and less on character building and the relationships between the investigators. While this approach gives the audience an overall rather detailed idea about Zodiac and his crimes, it doesn't leave much room for character exploration.

Star-Studded Success

Aside from a very well-put-together storyline, Zodiac has some of the most under-appreciated acting with a star-studded cast. Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr. play the roles of David Toschi, Robert Graysmith, and Paul Avery, respectively. Most people know them nowadays because of their MCU roles, but at the time, this movie showcased each of their acting abilities. While Jake carries most of the film as the main character, the unique elements that RDJ and Ruffalo bring to the movie take it to another level.

Captivating Cinematography

Throughout the film, there are no serious gunfights or adrenaline-pumping action sequences. However, Fincher's unique directing style keeps the audience exhilarated regardless. Every dialogue, every scene, and every cut is flawless in maintaining the eerie mood required for a great crime picture. Harris Savide, the cinematographer of Zodiac, also previously worked with Fincher on Se7en. Fincher likely decided to work with him again due to Savide's extraordinary talent at creating a perfectly balanced dark atmosphere with some rays of light shining throughout. Additionally, the songs used in Zodiac were smoothly worked in, and aside from giving some vibrance to the film, it helps transport the audience into that time period.

Closing Critiques

Zodiac is not only one of Fincher's finest films but also one of the finest crime movies of the 2000s. From intense acting to unique directing to eerie, captivating cinematography, the movie checks off all the boxes to be a crime masterpiece. Although the film might seem slightly too long, Fincher magically maintains an unreal pace keeping the audience on edge and guessing what will happen next.

Raving Rating: 7.9

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