Volume 93, Issue 40

Wednesday, November 10, 1999


Collector less-than-meaty effort

Bachelor should've been left at the alter

Wild Game makes most of nothing

Voodoo Daddy captivates listeners with classic style

Collector less-than-meaty effort

Photo by Takashi Seida
APPARENTLY, LINCOLN DIDN'T FIND THE "GOT YOUR NOSE" GAME QUITE AS FUNNY AS AMELIA DID. Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie pantomime their way through the predictable Bone Collector.

By Chris Theijsmeijer
Gazette Staff

There is a long and prestigious legacy of Hollywood thrillers – namely, that they continually try to surprise, scare, thrill and entertain audiences with new and inventive gore, super-violence and psychological trauma.

The Bone Collector is one of these films, billed as comparable to Silence of the Lambs and Seven. However, the Collector ranks closer to Copycat – a good film in the genre, but certainly not a masterpiece. The movie is extremely fast-paced and flings the viewer along with it, leaving them virtually no time to think, as new twists and turns present themselves.

Unfortunately, the characters are only paper-thin. Their development is restricted to only that which is necessary for the plot. The combination of frightening gore, mysterious clues and a diabolical killer is truly formulaic, as is the familiar plot and predictable ending.

Denzel Washington is Lincoln Rhyme, a world-class forensic officer, now a quadriplegic, as a result of an accident at a crime scene. He's ready to die on his own terms, as portrayed in a cheap euthanasic moment, but his mind is still as sharp as ever, without a hint of depression.

Enter the crime.

A New York taxi driver abducts people, takes them to obscure parts of the city and brutally kills them, always cutting down to the bone. Conveniently, he leaves a few deliberate clues – a trail for the police to follow. The beauty of it is, everyone has taken a cab ride and being trapped by a psycho killer is not too hard for most people to imagine. Each of the victims are killed in a different and creative way which makes one squirm – a definite must for this genre.

Angelina Jolie plays Amelia Donaghy, the young police officer who finds the first victim. Donaghy carries the memory of her father's suicide with her and consequently, has trouble with the gore of the regular police beat. But the superb forensic skills she demonstrates at the first crime scene bring her to Rhyme's attention. He calls her in to be his ears and eyes as they follow the trail.

Jolie does an excellent job of squirming herself, her character perpetually grossed-out and yet forced to endure the horrible crime scenes. She successfully shows her pain and stubborn drive to succeed. She is a comfortingly human character, among all the superheroes. If only she wasn't so gushy in the end over Washington.

Washington is his usual cool self – strong and decisive, driven by passion. He plays the part well, even if he is confined to a bed. Too bad he couldn't pull off the warm sympathetic scenes at the end, or an apology to Donaghy after a particularly gruesome request.

This would be a great movie if the killer was more believable – his motivation against Rhyme is too passing to be accepted. There's no reason given for why he chose to call himself "the bone collector," when this is obviously key to the entire story.

Still, The Bone Collector is worth a few bucks. Sit back and suspend disbelief and it'll certainly serve to entertain. However, a word of warning – don't spend too much time trying to find scenes which haven't already appeared in the trailer. They're few and far between.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999