David Fincher’s 2007 film Zodiac has been acclaimed by critics, with it boasting a 90 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a top five ranking on The Hollywood Reporter‘s list of the best 50 movies of the 21st century so far. But there were still some people who were disappointed by the movie’s lack of resolution.
With the many theories about the identity of the Zodiac killer, some viewers might have wanted a more definitive ending or take on the still unsolved mystery that gripped people for decades.
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Speaking at a recent Tribeca Festival panel with Steven Soderbergh, Fincher recalled, “There was so much flak after Zodiac came out about people saying, ‘Why didn’t you go down this rabbit hole? Why did you only go down the Graysmith rabbit hole?’”
“That’s the book that we bought,” he said, cutting off his own line of questioning. “We didn’t buy everyone’s book about the Zodiac.”
Indeed Fincher’s film is based on books by Robert Graysmith, the newspaper cartoonist played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who becomes increasingly obsessed with the identity of the Zodiac killer. The movie, written by James Vanderbilt, also stars Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chloë Sevigny, John Carroll Lynch and Anthony Edwards.
Fincher made his comments in response to a fan question about making projects involving real people, including ones who are still alive, like the subjects of his Facebook origins film, The Social Network, and the inspirations behind his Mindhunter series.
“You have a responsibility to make sure that you are saying what you want to say because chances are they can deck you in an airport,” Fincher said, speaking generally. “So you want to be conscious and be smart about it. Making movies about things that are ripped from headlines is a slippery slope. I think it’s important to be responsible, and by the same token, you also have to entertain an audience.”
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