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What makes the unjustly ignored film special is how little we see of the killer. The story is driven by the investigation "? by cop Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo, great as ever), by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr., also great as ever) and the paper's editorial cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal, better than usual), whose eventual book serves as the source material.


Because the thrill is in the hunt and not in the kills, "Zodiac" has more in common with "All the President's Men" than "Dirty Harry." Don't think that's exciting? Wrong.


Quite honestly, it's David Fincher's second-best effort "? after "Seven," of course "? and an assured work of directorial maturity. Here, he aims for the palpable grit that permeated so many crime flicks of the Seventies, and your first clue is the use of the Paramount Pictures logo from that era to open this long, but rewarding suspenser.


If there's a negative, it's that the DVD is featureless, but that's because a bonus-packed, two-disc director's cut is due in 2008. Rent now, buy later.


"?Rod Lott

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