Zodiac ★★½

Fincher’s craft is never on auto-pilot but his fastidious nature does little to make this story pop. In many ways, it’s a polite version of “Se7en,” with all of the bombast—and the verve—drained out. Absent that electricity, when you step back, it’s not really clear what Fincher’s perspective is here, or what he’s saying. It’s just a fairly dry recitation of the facts, culminating in an outcome that could have said so much more about our fascination with serial killers and our predilection for tidy endings than it does. It’s as if someone was charged with articulating a counter-argument to the sensationalism of that earlier movie, but what came back was just a term paper rather than a bona fide story.

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