For decades San Francisco and its surrounding counties were haunted by a faceless, seemingly unstoppable killer -- one who crowed about his murders to the press and struck without warning. From the late 1960's until the 1980's, a killer known as Zodiac took credit for 37 murders. That number may be a fabrication of a psychopath's bravado -- but it's incontrovertible that Zodiac committed 5 grisly shootings and stabbings that took place on lover's lanes and darkened streets. Director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) grew up in the Bay Area during those years, and revisits that time of terror and tension with his new film Zodiac.There's one easy criticism that can be lodged at Zodiac from the start: How can you possibly make a suspense film out of a story that's still a mystery? The Zodiac killer was never caught, after all -- so where's the climax, the closure?

The easy answer to that is simple: Life often doesn't provide closure -- and Fincher expertly crafts tension and suspense from the things we don't know about the Zodiac case. Zodiac follows the parallel investigations by police and press, the possible suspects, the tantalizing leads, the frustrating dead ends, the exciting possibilities. By showing us the details in carefully-wrought, exacting fashion, Fincher and screenwriter James Vanderbilt turn the hunt for the Zodiac killer into thrilling, exciting cinema -- and the best true-life tale of detection we've had on the big screen since All the President's Men.
categories Reviews, Cinematical