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.
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.
3.Fincher recreates the Bay Area of his childhood as a paranoid period piece, in which every mundane detail of the environment becomes sinister.
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.
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.
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?"
7.Meanwhile, the near-documentary feel is heightened as Fincher is relentless in presenting us with an overwhelming amount of visual information.
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.
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.
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.
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.