Zodiac is a movie about obsessions—those of a newspaper reporter, a police detective, an editorial cartoonist, and director David Fincher himself. Every one of them wants to know who the Zodiac Killer is, and it’s a mystery they can’t put down.
If you know David Fincher’s work, you already understand that he’s a precise filmmaker. It took a lot of planning and meticulous storytelling to pull off the twist endings of Fight Club and Se7en. In Zodiac, he’s back again methodically laying out the facts about the serial killer’s Northern California crimes.
To this day, no one knows who the Zodiac Killer was. According to Zodiac, crime reporter Paul Avery, police inspector Dave Toschi, and cartoonist Robert Graysmith were all desperate to catch the killer, and when they couldn’t, they drank, became bitter, and/or ruined their personal and work lives.
David Fincher has a guess about the Zodiac Killer’s identity, and he’s okay with that being his answer. Mostly, he’s focused on making the mystery person who mailed cryptic letters to newspapers and showed up in a ridiculous costume at a state recreation spot into a dark cypher that haunts us like he weighed on the men who hunted him.
The twist in Zodiac is that we’ll never know why the Zodiac Killer killed. All we’ll ever have is a riddle and the trail of carnage he left behind.
Watch it on Kanopy.