Based on the actual case files of one of the most intriguing unsolved crimes in the nations history, "Zodiac" is a thriller from David Fincher, director of "Se7en" and "Panic Room." As a serial killer terrifies the San Francisco Bay Area and taunts police with his ciphers and letters, investigators in four jurisdictions search for the murderer. The case will become an obsession for four men as their lives and careers are built and destroyed by the endless trail of clues.
The special edition of David Fincher's riveting true-crime movie is called the Director's Cut, although the extra footage in the film itself is not the main attraction. In fact, just 4-6 minutes' worth of previously unseen material is here on display, hardly changing the effect or impact of the film. (No, the extra footage doesn't reveal who the real killer was.) The set is loaded with background to satisfy both hungry film nerds and true-crime buffs, which is the real reason to buy this edition. On the film front, two commentaries yammer away during the movie, one from Fincher himself, the other from a tag-team group including stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., and, intriguingly, novelist and Black Dahlia
obsessive James Ellroy. An hourlong making-of feature and a pair of technical documentaries give abundant details about how the film was made: painstaking location work in real Zodiac haunts, plus some mind-boggling green-screen special effects. (You can also witness Gyllenhaal's exasperation at Fincher's take-after-take perfectionism.) On the real case, two rather remarkable documentaries not only recount the facts but seem to stir up new controversies: This Is the Zodiac Speaking
is a 102-minute account of the crimes and their initial investigation; Prime Suspect
is a 42-minute portrait of the man many sleuths think is the culprit. (His name is given on the DVD box in an alternate title for this doc, which might be a spoiler for first-time viewers, so beware.) All exhaustive stuff for a movie that gets under your skin. --Robert Horton