David Fincher’s Zodiac Still Thrills

In the spirit of Halloween, our film club, Film Initiative Underground, and the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, are teaming up to bring a free screening of David Fincher’s heart pumping crime-thriller, Zodiac (2007), to FIU’s MMC Campus. Based on the real-life murders of the Zodiac Killer, Zodiac is a brilliant and meticulously assembled story about obsession, and features great performances by a talented cast.

When crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) receives cryptic letters from a supposed serial killer calling himself Zodiac, political cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes obsessed with the case. When Avery refuses to take his insights seriously, Graysmith takes it on himself to contact San Francisco detective Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and join the manhunt to bring the Zodiac Killer to justice. Every performance in this film feeds into the tension of the story, with each scene dragging the audience closer to the tense and paranoid state Graysmith enters as he stumbles farther down the rabbit hole of the Zodiac case. Similarly, the character’s drive to solve the case rubs off on the film’s audience, and leaves us hungry for justice.

Likewise, Fincher’s meticulous film-making style helps accentuate the tension of both the performances and the story provided by this movie. Every decision made regarding framing, lighting, can be analyzed as meticulously as the details the Zodiac Killer leaves for our protagonists to solve. In preparing the film, every living person involved in the case was interviewed, and many case files locked away in the attics of retired policemen were taken into account when finalizing the script. The hard work put into researching the real-life case shows throughout the movie, providing what may be one of the most realistic and thrilling crime dramas based on true events.

Zodiac earns its lengthy run-time in providing a story obsessively packed with detail. Though the film takes liberties with the story it tries to tell, it remains faithful to the true events, and the end result of the cast and crew’s hard work is a phenomenal movie that should be watched by anyone who considers themselves a fan of the medium.

The Film Initiative and English Honor Society will be screening Zodiac for free on October 25th at 8pm in room GC 285, with free refreshments provided.

George Ibarra is a Senior at Florida International University, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a minor in Sociology, along with Certificates in Exile Studies and Film Studies.