The A-list movie nobody saw

Who better to tell the real-life, never-definitively-solved mystery of the Zodiac Killer — the one who murdered at least five people and terrorized northern California in the late ’60s and ’70s — than David (head in a box) Fincher of Seven fame? But Zodiac (available on DVD July 24) goes beyond the predictable noir-for-noir’s-sake and gore-sploitation movie routes;it’s far more interested in the obsession that takes over the lives of the unheroic heroes trying to solve the crimes. And the period touches are perfect, but never distracting.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Robert Graysmith — the San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist who wrote the book on which the film is based — along with (a spectacularly entertaining) Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Edwards, all playing men destroyed in different ways by their quests for answers. It’s looong — two and a half hours — and be warned: Though this is a director known for his dark and moody lighting, the scariest scene occurs on a sunny California day.

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