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    11 Reasons Why "Zodiac" Is An Overlooked Masterpiece

    Let's take a moment to appreciate David Fincher's underrated masterpiece.

    by ,

    1. While director David Fincher is best known for hit films such as Seven, Fight Club, and The Social Network, it's the dark and subtle 2007 true-crime drama Zodiac that may be his best work.

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    2. It follows the attempts of three men – two reporters, one cop – to track down the Zodiac, the never-caught serial killer who terrified Northern California in the 60s and 70s as he taunted the police with a series of letters and puzzles.

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    3. Fincher recreates the Bay Area of his childhood as a paranoid period piece, in which every mundane detail of the environment becomes sinister.

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    4. Under the watchful camera of Fincher and cinematographer Harris Savides, the potential for menace is constantly lurking in plain sight, glimpsed in shadows and reflections.

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    5. While the locales and the photography are deliberately unglamorous and mundane – "We didn’t want to make the sort of movie that serial killers would want to own," Fincher has said – the framing makes us suspicious of every background figure.

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    6. Eventually the viewer becomes as twitchy as Jake Gyllenhaal's lead character: "Who's that guy sat at the table?" you can't help ask. "Have we seen him before?"

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    7. Meanwhile, the near-documentary feel is heightened as Fincher is relentless in presenting us with an overwhelming amount of visual information.

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    8. Fincher's camera focuses again and again on the tiniest details of the evidence, pulling the viewer down the same path of obsession that his protagonists follow.

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    9. In the end, as the film – just like real life – finishes without a conclusion, you realise that Fincher's interest was never in the solution to the puzzle, but was rather in the nature of puzzles themselves.

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    10. Fincher leaves the movie deliberately ambiguous – to the extent of employing a different actor for each scene the Zodiac Killer actually appears in, to maintain the sense of uncertainty and unease that permeates his film.

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    11. As such, our attention is both drawn to and pushed away from that shadowy figure lurking on the edge of the frame – inviting the audience to consider, instead, the shadows that lurk even within themselves.

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