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Zodiac 2007

Critics score:
89 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Fincher and screenwriter James Vanderbilt, who spent more than a year researching the script, have made one of the most detailed, factually scrupulous crime dramas to ever come out of a Hollywood studio. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: It's fascinating and unexpected both in its simple, looming images and its storytelling priorities, which may not intersect with the priorities of audiences who couldn't get enough of Se7en. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: I don't think Fincher can relate much to moral outrage. What occupies him is how to send you home antsy, unsure of what you've seen but sure it was worse than you think. He gives you the existential willies. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Fincher does keep this bubbling along, ably assisted by a cast that includes Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chloe Sevigny, Elias Koteas, and Philip Baker Hall. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Obsession is the real subject here, and obsessing about anything briskly doesn't count. Yet the film also feels self-obsessed, an intriguing drama that slowly devolves into a bleak meditation on the absence of dramatics. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: David Fincher's grim but mesmerizing Zodiac offers the puzzle-solving addictiveness of a detective story, the shivers of a thriller and the allure of a character study, all presented with a dash of newspaper drama. Read more

Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Staying true to its real-life scenario, the film gets mired in the inevitable red tape of police investigations, [and it] switches focus enough times to make you think it's three movies instead of one. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Zodiac is the rare serial-killer movie in which the psychosis stems as much from the pursuers (and the filmmaker) as the pursued. Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: Fincher leads us down little dark alleys and side streets, and we're never quite sure who might jump out to be the killer. After three decades, details of the case have faded from public consciousness, so the movie is surprising at times. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: A long work of completely sustained suspense and dark humor. Read more

Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times: Overlong and lacking dramatic focus, the film nevertheless captures the dark allure that the unsolved crimes had on the region over a 22-year period. Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: The most perverse thing about Zodiac isn't that its Hollywood's umpteenth serial-killer flick, when such crimes are rare in reality. It's that Zodiac, though based on actual crimes, is one of the dullest of these films to date. Read more

Tom Charity, CNN.com: Low-key but all the more compelling for it, Zodiac is the first must-see movie of 2007. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The doggedness of the pursuit, the painstaking accumulation of clues, has its own inherent drama. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Have no doubts, director David Fincher makes movies that rattle. Even when they're not wholly successful. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The Zodiac killer was never found. Dealing with a murder mystery that's still unsolved gives Fincher shaky enough ground for drama. Add in a protagonist who seems driven by a vacuum, and you pretty much have a movie about nothing going nowhere. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Zodiac leaves us haunted by the knowledge that he's looking for something that can't be found: a way to make the monsters go away. Read more

Mark Bourne, Film.com: Fincher, more subdued ... and aching for a return to smart suspense films from the likes of Sidney Lumet and Alan J. Pakula, pulls us by the collar into the frame and cranks the sense of menace taut without cheap tricks or cop-out gimmicks. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Zodiac is not only smart and calculated -- it's in it for the long haul. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: At nearly three hours, and without a single hobbit in the cast, Zodiac is the sort of vast, richly involving pop epic that Hollywood largely seems incapable of making anymore. Read more

Gene Seymour, Newsday: Overall, the movie's a sprawling mess. But its twitchier particulars dare you to hold them up for further, if cautious, scrutiny. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: The movie holds you in its grip from start to finish. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Any honest neurotic could probably tell you: the emotional payoff of an obsession is not attaining some longed-for goal -- it's the obsession itself, which fulfills certain needs. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: For a director whose earlier films include the influential Seven and cult-fave Fight Club, the results are merely good -- not great. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR.org: There are no tidy, last-minute plot twists to make you feel good in Fincher's Zodiac, just focus -- to keep an audience focused -- and the most disciplined filmmaking you've seen in forever. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: Without a persuasive ending, Zodiac is an exercise in frustration. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: David Fincher's sprawling, lavishly produced Zodiac is, in my estimation, more than a good movie. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Mr. Fincher's flair for casting is the major asset of his curiously attenuated return to the serial-killer genre. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Zodiac is fascinating and engrossing and realistic and every bit as unsatisfying as real life and real police work often are. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Patient viewers will be rewarded; others may wish for something with less subtlety and more verve. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: What makes Zodiac authentic is the way it avoids chases, shootouts, grandstanding and false climaxes, and just follows the methodical progress of police work. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: Zodiac is all about Fincher's personal enthusiasms and obsessions. It takes a mighty big ego to steal the show from a serial killer. Apparently, Fincher's just the guy for the job. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: For all its dramatic flaws, Zodiac deserves praise for not choosing the easy route. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Zodiac is long -- over two and a half hours -- but when it's over, you almost wish it had gone on for another 20 minutes. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: A film that is both emotionally and intellectually unsettling. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Zodiac, the latest film from director David Fincher, is among his best Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The most provocative aspect of this compulsive riddle is how it resists closure. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: It makes you want to study it even more closely, in search of things you might have missed, trailing after leads that flash by in the relentless momentum of going nowhere fast. If you're not careful, it might make you obsessed. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: You'll feel a chill in the theater, and in your blood. Read more

Ben Walters, Time Out: Several bravura suspense sequences - can't help but recall slasher convention. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: A modern American masterpiece. Read more

Christopher Orr, The New Republic: [W]here Se7en, with its stygian gloom and theatrical executions, inflated the serial killer genre to gothic proportions, Zodiac lets the air back out. It is methodical rather than macabre, clinical rather than cruel. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: With its unhurried pace and cerebrally engaging plot, Zodiac is an unusually haunting and compelling horror film. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Conveying an astonishing array of information across a long narrative arc while still maintaining dramatic rhythm and tension, this adaptation of Robert Graysmith's bestseller reps by far director David Fincher's most mature and accomplished work. Read more

Nathan Lee, Village Voice: This relentlessly swift film super-charges every minute with a maximum of minutiae. Dizzyingly dense, intricate in the extreme, Zodiac is the most information-packed procedural since JFK. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: The movie, directed by David Fincher, is not without value, if it's largely without drama. Read more