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Suspect Zero

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Suspect Zero

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Aaron Eckhart
Director: E. Elias Merhige
Rated: R
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: August 2004
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

*Also starring: Carrie-Anne Moss, Julian Reyes, Frank Collison, Kevin Chamberlin, William R. Mapother, Brady Coleman, Ed Dames, Nicole DeHuff, Buddy Joe Hooker

Review by Susan Granger
½ star out of 4

Perhaps there have been just too many serial killer movies this year, like "Twisted" and "Taking Lives," but everything about this so-called thriller seems overly familiar and tepid.

Once a top Dallas FBI Agent, mild-mannered Thomas Mackelway (Aaron Eckhart) is now assigned to a minor-league field work in Albuquerque, where he starts getting threatening faxes from obsessive-compulsive Benjamin O'Ryan (Ben Kingsley), who may or may not be involved with a series of killings that Mackelway is investigating. So his former partner/lover, Fran Kulok (Carrie-Anne Moss), an agent from Dallas, us sent over to help him. It seems O'Ryan, who is also a former G-man, is proficient in the ESP telepathic specialty of "remote viewing," which allows him to project himself into the guilt-ridden minds of murderers whom he then stalks and kills. He removes their eyelids and leaves a carved symbol - a zero with a slash through it - as his calling card. That refers to O'Ryan's grisly theory that a serial killer can succeed only if the choice of his victims is random because, without a pattern, there is no trail.

The screenplay by Zak Penn and Billy Ray is so crammed with confusing flashbacks and weird, supernatural visions that director W. Elias Merhige ("Shadow of a Vampire") seems quite overwhelmed by the pulpy obscurity of the cryptic concept. Not to mention the plot loopholes and serious lack of character development. What a waste of acting talent! On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Suspect Zero" is an eerie, implausible 2. There's a rumor that the state of New Mexico floated an interest-free, $7.5 million loan for this film production in exchange for 2.5% of the profits and - if that's true - there could be a strong case for fiscal irresponsibility.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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