Movies: Anatomy of a Manhunt

A sharp thriller by an A-list director with a strong cast tracks the sleuthing of the Zodiac killer

Merrick Morton - Paramount

Robert Downey Jr., left, and Jake Gyllenhaal, right, in Zodiac.

There's no nice way to say it: movies love murderers. Producers may claim the killer's story is a cautionary tale, but they revel--along with the villain and the audience--in the sick grandeur of a hit man, a supervillain, a serial killer. Movies used to show what the audience wanted to be. Then Norman Bates came along, and Freddy and Jason, and Hannibal Lecter, to prove that we also wanted to see what we feared. The psycho creeps toward his victim; we can't watch, and we can't turn away.

Zodiac, a true-crime docudrama from scaremeister David (Se7en) Fincher, is about the manhunt for...

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