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Quadripeligic ex-cop Lincoln Rhyme was looking forward to his assisted suicide when he got the news: some sicko was abducting people in a taxi and leaving them to die in particularly sadistic ways. With time counting down between each abduction and possible death, Rhyme recruits rather-unwilling Amelia Donaghy, haunted by her cop father's suicide and thinking she's next, into working the crime scenes to track down the killer. Written by
Jeff Cross <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not a horrible movie, just a recycled one. Everybody is too familiar with the plot. ** (out of four).
THE BONE COLLECTOR / (1999) ** (out of four)
By Blake French:
Everybody has seen it, the notorious suspense thriller in which a serial killer madman plays cat and mouse games with a distressed cop; seldom are movies as predictable, dispensable, or formulaic. One of the most recent in this generation's trend of serial killer movies is called "The Bone Collector," and stars Golden Globe winning actor Denzel Washington and the sexy actress, Angelina Jolie. As often true, the production is well acted, directed with focus and precision by Philip Noyce ("The Saint," "Patriot Games"), and creates an appropriate mood for its characters. But even big stars and a appropriate atmosphere cannot save a movie this familiar and predictable.
Denzel Washington plays a heroic cop named Lincoln Rhyme. He is an underdeveloped character, however, the screenplay supplies him with a vast reputation and experiences as a cop; he has written a dozen books on crime scene tactics and his mind in an encyclopedia of crime solving methods. As the movie opens, he is paralyzed at a crime site, leaving him bedridden in his Manhattan apartment with control of only a single index finger. His headquarters is decorated with all sorts of high-tech gadgets and a kind nurse named Thelma (Queen Latifah), who is always there for him when he goes into violent seizures.
A few gruesome murders transpire, leaving a rookie cop, Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie), whose assistance is selected by the paralyzed but smart cop who uses her as his body to stop the psychopathic serial killer. The killer uses a taxi cap to lure his victims to their final and disturbing death. What is most bothersome about this production is that it teases us with intriguing implications of the graphic murders instead of portraying guts and irony by exploiting the supposedly grotesque images.
The production consists mainly of sequences in which various characters loom in dark hallways, allies, rooms, or sets designed specifically for the killer to lurk around in. Of course there is plenty of suspenseful music and a few surprising moments, but the actual story greatly lacks imagination and edge. Angelina Jolie is the movie's standout performance, but she is mainly used as a plot device to explore such areas as listed above.
"The Bone Collector" is not a horrible movie, just a recycled one. The material has been experienced so many times before we can never become too involved in the story or too interested with the characters. What bothers me most is how this kind of story has no cause or purpose; the serial killer's motive, as always, is explained during the climax sequence, and is disposable and contrived. Why do screenwriters create killers with disturbing motives, but no reasoning behind them? Kind of defeats the purpose of rationalism, doesn't it.
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