What I loved: What initially drew me to this movie was the star-studded cast. Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Nightcrawler, Jarhead) puts on an intriguing and enticing act as Robert Graysmith. Mark Ruffalo (Avengers, Foxcatcher, Shutter Island) plays Inspector David Toschi and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, Avengers) brings his sarcastic swag to the role of Paul Avery.
Other prominent actors starring in Zodiac include Brian Cox (Troy, Super Troopers) Chloë Sevigny (Bloodline, American Horror Story) and John Carroll Lynch (Gran Torino, Crazy Stupid Love).
The movie was directed by David Fincher.
I was pleasantly surprised the movie was less “slasher” and more investigative. So, if you’re hoping for a movie filled with blood, guts and spewing intestines, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The movie starts off a little slow, but unwinds and drags you along the hunt for Zodiac. During a particular scene towards the end, there is an awkward moment between Graysmith and another man which made my stomach drop and terror rise within. I'm sure it didn’t help that I was watching the movie alone in the dark!
What I didn’t: Although the actors played their characters very well, and all of the characters were believable, I felt I had no additional knowledge of who Gyllenhaal, Downey JR and Ruffalo were playing. I would have liked to learn more about each character and the person they were portraying. For example, why did Graysmith become a cartoonist? Why did Avery become a journalist? Who were they outside of work? And so on.
I also felt there was a severe lack of female characters. Sure, Graysmith had a partner, and there were female victims of Zodiac, but personally, I needed a little more estrogen. It would have been more appealing to me to see possibly another female officer or female writer thrown into the mix.
If you do not own Zodiac, you can rent it on Amazon Instant Video for $2.99.
If you have visited my blog before, you know I pride myself on offering spoiler-free reviews, however, for this review I have a special treat. If you do not want the movie and/or Zodiac case to be spoiled for you, please do not read any further!!!
I asked Morford to give his expert opinion in regards to the main differences between the Zodiac movie and the true events written in Graysmith’s book, Zodiac.
Again, please do not read further if you do not wish to see any spoilers.
1) In the movie, Sf Chronicle Reporter, Paul Avery & Robert Graysmith worked together and spent time together at the paper. In reality, they did not work together at the paper at the same time.
2) In the Movie, the Zodiac mailed Avery a Halloween card containing a piece of the cabbie, Paul Stine's bloody shirt. In reality, Zodiac did mail Avery a Halloween card, but there was no shirt piece in it.
3) The Zodiac murders started officially on 12/20/68 with the murders of David Faraday & Betty Lou Jensen. Their murders are not shown in the movie, but rather, the first attack we see is the 2nd attack on 7/4/69. The reason for this was because of Director David Fincher's desire to only show the attacks in which there was a surviving witness to the attack.
4) In the movie, when Cops question Suspect Arthur Leigh Allen, he is wearing WingWalker Boots, like the ones that left the tracks at the scene of the Lake Berryessa stabbings. In reality, he was not wearing those boots and there is no evidence he ever wore those boots.
5) In the movie, they talk about a 'painting party' at Victim Darlene Ferrin's home, and insinuate that Suspect Allen was at the party. In reality, there's no proof that the party ever happened, or if it did, who was there.
These are only some things I have noted as being off or different from real events. Mostly, the book & movie present the case facts truthfully & responsibly.
A big thank you to Mike for his input and all of the amazing information he has provided. You can learn more about the Zodiac by visiting Mike’s site, http://zodiackillersite.com/ and you can listen to him on The Generation Why Podcast episode about Zodiac.