Director: David Fincher
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards
“Meticulous” is a word that is often used to describe David Fincher’s philosophy as a filmmaker. And it’s that obsessive dedication to getting things right that elevates Zodiac from what could be a boring police procedural or outright schlocky horror film to a brilliantly balanced and deeply enthralling thriller as the filmmaker, actors and audience work together to solve the case of one of America’s most notorious—and still unsolved—serial killers.
Fincher took a page from Alan J. Pakula’s book, using All the President’s Men as a template for Zodiac, which is based on cartoonist-turned-investigator Robert Graysmith’s best-selling book. For Fincher, the film wasn't about the murders as much as it was the investigation of the murders. There was no “happy ending” to be found in an unsolved crime so, in true Fincher fashion, the director shopped the film until he found a studio that didn’t balk at the lack of action, a 157-minute running time or an inconclusive ending. The rest, as they say, is history.