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The Bone Collector

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Bone Collector

Starring: Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie
Director: Phillip Noyce
Rated: R
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: November 1999
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Queen Latifah, Leland Orser, Michael Rooker, Mike McGlone, John Benjamin Hickey, Ed O'Neill

Review by John Beachem
1½ stars out of 4

A dark city, a constant downpour, a serial killer who the cops can't catch, and a brilliant detective who is the only one capable of finding him. With a tried and true formula like this, how could a film possibly go wrong? By being utterly, ridiculously implausible. Another example of how fine acting from the leads can't save a script this unbelievable.

Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) was once a brilliant detective, but a falling pipe crushed his spine and his will to live. Despite support from his friends, Thelma (Queen Latifah) and fellow detective Paulie (Ed O'Neill), he has decided to end his life before his injury escalates and he becomes a vegetable. However, Paulie wants his help on one more case, which involves a killer taxi driver who is leaving clues for the police. Lincoln agrees, but only if young officer Amelia (Angelina Jolie) will be his eyes and ears by filming crime scenes and reporting to him.

As I said, the acting here is really quite good, particularly from Denzel Washington. It's remarkable what a performance he can deliver, despite being able to move only his head and one finger. Angelina Jolie delivers an adequate performance, but seems rather miscast. As always, it's a pleasure to see Ed O'Neill in a film. Being known almost entirely for his role as Al Bundy on "Married With Children", it's good to see the talented actor trying his hand at something new. Michael Rooker (Cliffhanger, Tombstone) makes an appearance as the useless Captain Cheney, whos character seems present only to hassle the investigators and irritate the audience.

Speaking of implausibilities, how long do you believe a train takes to stop? Quite a long time, at any rate. According to "The Bone Collector", it takes maybe 20 yards to come to a complete stop. The scene involves Amelia just having found a body and a clue which lies on the train tracks. She stands in front of the train, yelling for it to stop and waving her arms back and forth. The clue is a piece of paper held down by a bolt. This could very easily have been moved off the tracks, but this wouldn't have been nearly as tense a scene I suppose.

Another nice, impossible scene involves Amelia searching for a book which will reveal the identity of the killer, according to Lincoln. The first store she looks for this rare book in happens to have it, and she discovers its location by reaching to the top of a shelf and pulling a pile of books down. The novel in question lands right on top, turned towards her. As for the identity of the killer, I guessed it as soon as he appeared on screen; but when his identity is truly revealed, it comes completely out of left field, so don't even try to guess his motives.

"The Bone Collector" runs a little too long at 118 minutes. I'd recommend it only for die-hard fans of either the genre, or Denzel Washington. Even if you fall under one of these categories, I'd still suggest waiting for video.

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* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now. * * * * - Great flick. Try and catch this one. * * * - Okay movie, hits and misses. * * - Pretty bad. See it if you've got nothing better to do. * - One of the worst movies ever. See it only if you enjoy pain.

Copyright 2000 John Beachem

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