A cold-blooded serial killer floats around the country and chooses his victims from people who complain about their lives and indicate a willingness to be killed. His murders are introduced... See full summary »
Comedy writer Jerry Stahl, whose $6000-a-week heroin habit had him taking his infant daughter along on his drug runs and doing smack during TV script conferences. Departing detox, Stahl ... See full summary »
A portrait of a fictional town in the mid west that is home to a group of idiosyncratic and slightly neurotic characters. Dwayne Hoover is a wealthy car dealer-ship owner that's on the ... See full summary »
A cold-blooded serial killer floats around the country and chooses his victims from people who complain about their lives and indicate a willingness to be killed. His murders are introduced with the killing of an asthmatic junkie. The killer settles into a seaside rooming house run by an unhappy married couple and waits for his next victims to unveil themselves. Dream cops plague his nights, while plotting his murders. Meanwhile, he also starts a relationship with a postal clerk. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An unassuming, charismatic personality and a bottle of poison prove to be a lethal combination in `The Minus Man,' directed by Hampton Fancher and starring Owen Wilson. When a personable young man drifts in from the Pacific Northwest and settles in a small coastal town, a number of people's lives are soon changed forever, and not for the better. Vann Siegert (Wilson) is a likable fellow with a winning smile and always a credible story regarding who he is, where he's been and where he's going; he's also a psychotic killer who chooses his victims seemingly at random, yet is so ingratiating that he never falls under suspicion. And such is the case when he rents a room from an unsuspecting couple, Jane and Doug Durwin (Mercedes Ruehl and Brian Cox). Without realizing, of course, that he's enabling a murderer, Doug helps Vann find gainful employment, allowing him to establish himself within the community, and the rest-- as they say-- is history. In one of the more telling scenes in the film, Vann reflects to himself, `If it weren't for me, these people would all be doing something else today...' What they are doing, in fact, is searching for one of their own who has gone missing, courtesy of Vann. What is so distressing about this movie is the lack of menace outwardly presented by someone so intrinsically evil; like Norman Bates in `Psycho,' Vann is simply too unprepossessing and benign to be considered a threat to anyone. The contrast between his countenance and his crimes is chilling; and the fact that he perpetrates his deeds in such a matter-of-fact, unemotional manner gives new meaning to the phrase `cold blooded killer.' One of the interesting aspects of the film is that Vann acts as narrator as well, which effectively puts the audience inside the mind behind the madness, even more so than in `Silence of the Lambs,' because in this case, the viewer is privy to the actual thought process that precipitates the crimes. And it becomes a bit unnerving after some reflection upon what is actually transpiring under the guise of `normalcy.' Owen Wilson is well cast and gives a stunningly credible performance as Vann; he conveys such a low-keyed, eye-in-the-center-of-the-storm manner that he is instantly recognizable as the boy next door you'd be more than happy for your daughter to date. And after watching him in action it becomes truly disconcerting to consider that in the real world there are those who look and act like Vann and are capable of such heinous acts of violence and deceit. As the couple who takes Vann in-- and are subsequently taken in by him-- Ruehl and Cox capture the essence of the `everyman/woman' that can be found in any neighborhood in any town, and the fact that they are people with whom it is so easy to identify makes it even more upsetting when you realize that the vulnerability to which we are all prone can be exploited with such facility. In a supporting role, Janeane Garofalo is a welcome presence as Ferrin, a co-worker of Vann's who is drawn in by his winsome facade; and rounding out the supporting cast are Sheryl Crowe (Caspar/Laurie), Dwight Yoakam (Blair), Dennis Haysbert (Graves) and Alex Warren (State Trooper). Ultimately, `The Minus Man' is a cautionary tale that may spark a touch of paranoia in the viewer, and with good reason; and after spending some time with Vann, it just may alter your perception of some of your more casual acquaintances and even some old friends, especially those who seem so `ordinary.' It's a film that kind of sneaks up on you and takes you by surprise; and it may leave you pondering the darker side of human nature. I rate this one 7/10.
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