Zodiac Movie Synopsis: Solving the Unsolved Mystery Murders
Zodiac Movie Synopsis: Solving the Unsolved Mystery Murders

Zodiac Movie Synopsis: Solving the Unsolved Mystery Murders

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Zodiac is a gripping mystery thriller directed by David Fincher, with James Vanderbilt as the scriptwriter based on the non-fiction books, “Zodiac” and “Zodiac Unmasked” by Robert Graysmith published in 1986 and 2002. The film features Robert Downey Jr., as Paul Avery, a crime reporter, Jake Gyllenhaal, as Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist at a newspaper, Mark Ruffalo, as Detective Dave Toschi, and Anthony Edwards, as Detective Bill Armstrong, Toschi’s workmate. The investigation begins after the mysterious murder of Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau, shot by an unidentified person in Vallejo, California, in July 1969.


The news of the murder reached San Francisco Chronicle after one month, where the killer sent a letter with a coded message. If the message remained unbroken and printed in the newspapers, the killer would continue killing randomly. A discussion was held amongst the editorial team to decode the message, with Avery and Graysmith involved. After deciphering the code, the news was published with the killer calling himself ‘Zodiac’, creating fear and panic in San Francisco. The killer again attacked a couple Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard, in Napa County, leading Graysmith to contact Avery with critical information leading to the suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen. Meanwhile, Avery continued receiving mysterious letters, which eventually led to him losing his job, and he became a broken man.

Toschi and Armstrong, with police from Vallejo and Napa County, worked on the case tirelessly towards 1971, interviewing suspects, including Arthur Leigh Allen, who seemed to have direct connections to the Vallejo murder scene. Graysmith was intrigued by the Zodiac case and continued to investigate the murders. Later, Graysmith infiltrated the Vallejo police archive room, looking for conclusive evidence leading to the suspect’s arrest. His obsession led to death threats and destroying his personal life.

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The first hour of the movie is intense, suspenseful, and gripping, maintaining the promise of an absolute serial killer film. The narrative is tense, with the number of the victim’s increasing as the weeks go by. The performances are top-notch, with each character complementing the other. Mark Ruffalo delivers a stone-cold performance, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal delivering accomplished performances. The supporting cast is exceptional, reflecting the tone and pace of the movie.


The investigation is depicted accurately and complemented with the cinematography and script, creating terrifying suspense challenging to keep the view glued to their screens. The movie gives America’s most notorious unsolved serial-killer investigation, the Zodiac killer – a heart-wrenching ending with real footage of Paul Avery and Toschi on the case, closing with real facts about the investigation.


Zodiac is an exceptional film, telling the story of America’s notorious unsolved serial killings, with unparalleled suspense and intrigue. David Fincher manages to capture the terror and paranoia induced by the killer, while the performances are top-notch, led by Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Edwards. The movie will have the viewer at the edge of their seat, making it a must-watch for thriller and mystery lovers.

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Lintang Pratiwi is a film review writer with 4 years experience. He has expertise in analyzing plots, characters, and messages contained in films.

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