thomas1995’s review published on Letterboxd:
NOT MANY PEOPLE HAVE BASEMENTS IN CALIFORNIA...
~Jake Gyllenhal gives one of the best performances of his career. He plays an antisocial cartoonist, Robert Greysmith who likes solving puzzles but suddenly is drawn into the detection of the case. He becomes so obsessed with the murders and doesn't realize how harm he causes himself and his family. In his attempt to follow all the clues and find the identity of the killer, he eventually breaks up with his wife (Cloe Sevigny) and is involved in horrific situations (the basement scene is so stressful).
~The rest of the cast is excellent too. Mark Rufallo as detective David Toschi and Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery make a respectable job. Both those characters are obsessed as well, something that costs them their career. The first one is accused of something he doesn't do and the second one end ups being alcoholic and miserable. The film points that the fascination and obsession can lead to a dangerous path if you don't know when to stop (like the character of Antony Edwards).
~John Caroll Lynch is fantastic as Zodiac and the emptiness on his face makes him intimidating. His killings are unhesitating and specifically the first murder on the car and the one in the lake keep you on the edge of your seat. In addition, the scene with the woman that is stopped by a stranger is horrifying, especially when there is a baby along with her.
~The mystery of the film is engaging and makes you feel that you are a part of the investigation. In other words, you want to connect the dots like the protagonist and solve the case before any of the characters does. The introduction of various suspects and clues adds to the complexity of the case.
~ The ending leaves you with absolutely no justice and makes you understand that not everything has a happy closure. The film prefers staying close to the actual events rather than giving a typical hollywood ending.
~The movie underlines significant problems of the society. The bureaucracy and the lack of coordination are in fact the reason why this case isn't closed for about 40 years. Another important aspect is the the way the media present social problems that have an effect on the safety of the civilians.
~The direction by David Fincher is masterful once again and the narrative structure and the tight editing help the pacing so you don't feel the lengthy running time of the film.
~The cinematography is beautiful and the depiction of San Fransisco is realistic. The decade of 1960s and 1970s is perfectly illustrated and the cars, the clothing and the haircuts are precise of that era. Moreover, the music score creates a gritty atmosphere.
~The storyline of Paul Avery could be explored better in the third act. He is actually out of the game very early in the movie although it seems that he will play a bigger role in the end.