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The Bone Collector (1999)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: August 29, 1999
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writer: Jeremy Iacone
Producers: M. Bregman, M. S. Bregman, L. Stroller
Actors:
Denzel Washington
Angelina Jolie
Plot:
An expert in the field of crime scene forensics suddenly becomes a quadriplegic after a horrible on-the-job accident. Four years later, a serial killer is on the loose, and our top cop suddenly develops a high interest in the mysterious case. Seeing that he cannot go to the crime scenes himself, he recruits the help of a young forensics hopeful, enter Angelina Jolie. Together, they attempt to piece together all of the clues in the puzzle, which once resolved, will nab them a killer.
Critique:
Fantastic style, this film spices itself up with some great shots, unique points-of-view angles, an effective chilling mood, and some excellent performances put forth by Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. I must admit that ever since the plethora of "serial killer" films that came flying out after the great success of SEVEN (10/10), I have become harsher and harsher in respect to my criticism of these movies. This film passed my test with flying colors, because it managed to pull me into its game of thrills, with an interesting mystery, some pretty gruesome murder scenes, an engaging score and a nice build-up. Originality in the film's actual premise might not be its strong suit (A serial killer is on the loose...leaving plenty of cryptic clues...let's find him!), but the chemistry between Jolie and Washington make this film much more interesting and captivating to watch.

I also enjoyed a couple of the sidebar performances by Queen Latifah (Don't laugh, she's pretty good in it) and Ed O'Neill (Al Bundy to some of you), in particular. I could have done without Michael Rooker playing the badass cop role. Michael should really start looking into stretching his talent across some characters which aren't bordering on the psychotic. Another thing that I didn't fully appreciate about this film, was the fact that the killer would purposely leave clues at each of the crime scenes. This function was to allow his pursuants a better "chance" of identifying the person, but only if they pieced together a bunch of far-fetched parts of a grand puzzle, which in my opinion, seemed a little extravagant. Having said that, this minor detriment to my enjoyment of the story didn't really seem to bother me as much as I thought it would. And for that, I praise the director's unique vision, the actors' wonderful performances, and the film's creepy feel, which in combination allowed for an entertaining film to unfold. And despite the obvious commonality to Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW (Both protagonists are incapacitated during the entire film), I did find myself feeling like I was watching a 90s version of a Hitchcock movie at times.

If you love murder mysteries, you will most likely love this movie, especially if you don't mind gory crime scenes, gruesome details about horrendous murders, and loved SEVEN and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. And watch for this one very cool camera shot which begins on the downtown streets of New York, and pulls back real quick and up and into the room where Denzel spends all of his time in this film. Very slick!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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