Rated 3.0

The unsolved crime spree by the self-styled Zodiac killer, who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early ’70s, is recounted by director David Fincher and writer James Vanderbilt (adapting the book by Robert Graysmith, the San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist who had a front-row seat for the investigation at the time). Fincher flawlessly captures the look and feel of the period, as well as the dread and near-panic that the Zodiac inspired, and he gets sturdy performances from a pedigreed cast (Jake Gyllenhaal as Graysmith, Robert Downey Jr. as Chronicle reporter Paul Avery, plus Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Elias Koteas, Chloë Sevigny). But the movie is insanely overlong, wasting long stretches on red herrings, and the tension of the early scenes ultimately dissipates.