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Review: The Bone Collector

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Review: The Bone Collector

Old 06-08-00, 06:36 PM
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The Bone Collector

Two words immediately came to my mind as I viewed The Bone Collector; unoriginal and implausible. Based on the novel by Jeffery Deaver, The Bone Collector is Sherlock Holmes meets Se7en. If the writers had offered us the best of both, wrapped up in an attractive and suspenseful little package, we the viewers might have had a real treat. Alas, this is not what we are offered.

Denzel Washington plays Lincoln Rhyme, the former head of the NYPD Crime Scene Unit. Rhyme is extremely accomplished in the field of criminal forensics, having written 12 books on the subject (some of which are required reading in the NYPD police academy). Unfortunately, Rhyme was severely crippled in an on-the-job accident four years ago and now lies bedridden and paralyzed, retaining only the use of his head, shoulders, and one finger. However, when a prominent NYC businessman is abducted and then found mostly buried in gravel next to a railroad bed, the NYPD once again seeks his expertise. Rhyme seeks the assistance of his former colleagues and that of an inexperienced street cop named Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie). Rhyme apparently feels she has a flair for forensics because she actually followed police procedures and preserved evidence at a crime scene. Ed O’Neill, Queen Latifah, Michael Rooker, Mike McGlone (best known for his appearances Edward Burns’ She’s the One and The Brothers McMullen), and Leland Orser (who I best know for his brief but memorable appearances in Saving Private Ryan and, coincidentally, Se7en) round out the cast.

The Bone Collector is yet another film where the killer is not simply satisfied with killing, but rather feels compelled to develop a quasi-symbiotic relationship with the police by leaving intentional, challenging clues behind. The ease and speed at which Rhyme and his team are able to translate these remarkably esoteric clues into tangible data is incredible (i.e., incredibly dubious). Like in Se7en, the writers have the killer contrive these astoundingly intricate and brutal constructs for his victims’ demise, all in a failed effort to build suspense.

Also important to the creators of this film is the “whodunit” factor. Early on in this film, we are supposed to begin to suspect that one of the established cast members is actually the killer. I am not typically one of those movie viewers that is able to predict that nature of surprise endings. Unfortunately, director Phillip Noyce telegraphs the killer’s identity fairly early on with a particularly clumsy piece of cinematography. The dramatic conclusion, wherein the killer is identified and one of the other cast members must defend themselves against him/her is just downright silly.

Washington and Jolie do a fairly good job with the material they have and the film does have a fair amount of visual appeal but neither is enough to overcome the dreadful writing. Rooker’s character is 2-dimensional to the point of sheer disbelief. The Bone Collector makes me yearn for effective dramas about realistic police investigators seeking to apprehend realistic killers in realistic ways.

(out of 4)

The DVD is a very nice presentation with anamorphic widescreen, DTS and DD5.1, director's commentary track, trailer, cast and crew info, featurette, production notes, and DVD-ROM features.

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[This message has been edited by JustinS (edited June 08, 2000).]
Old 06-09-00, 03:26 PM
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This movie was long and boring. The only thing that I can think of that would have helped it, would have been if Queen Latifah and Denzel would have gotten killed too. I just did'nt like this too much. I felt like I had already seen it before or something.

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