Nihar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Not at all what I was hoping for, Zodiac was something of a disappointment even if the final product has the polish of a Fincher project.
True crime is inherently interesting, and unsolved even moreso. There’s something frustrating and obsessive about finding the answer, about not resting until we know it. Fincher absolutely nails that in the final third of the film. It’s unfortunate that the film leading up to that feels the need to vomit information from every detail on the Wikipedia entry. Stars such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo elevate the somewhat by-the-numbers material. In Se7en, he used John Doe has a reflection of humanity, while in Zodiac he opts for a straight forward police procedural (one he managed to perfect in Mindhunter). It’s when the story shifts focus entirely to Robert Graysmith’s findings that Zodiac finds solid ground. The ending, and frankly this is true for all of Fincher’s endings, is spectacular, an incredibly perfect set up and pay off that achieves so much without a single line of dialogue.
With Fincher, digital wizardry is expected and whereas films such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network were pristine, the shine on Zodiac reeks of artifice. Every frame has the digital sheen on it, and for a story of 1960s and 70s California, I’m not sure that was the correct approach. That being said, I can see how this film wouldn’t work for me as well the second time, because of how much I know about the case, and that knowledge could have hurt my viewing experience. Regardless, Zodiac wasn’t the five star i was expecting on rewatch, but as a piece of crime fiction, it engages and interests at every moment.