"Beauty and the Brain Bring Bungler Down"
Solid performances from Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie make THE BONE COLLECTOR a reliable spine tingler from beginning to end despite a basic serial killer premise.
The story starts with New York police detective Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington), a world-renowned forensics expert and writer of the manual SCENE OF THE CRIME for the Police Academy. Four years prior, in his attempt to rescue a fellow officer, a beam fell on top of him, leaving him a quadriplegic. Despite encouragement from his friends and nurse, Thelma (Queen Latifah), Rhyme wants to end his life. Plagued by seizures, Rhyme knows that a big one could cause him to become brain damaged as well.
Rookie cop Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie), who is trying to get into the youth service division, stumbles upon the crime scene of a serial killer. Immediately, her natural instincts enable her to protect and gather the evidence brilliantly. Once Rhyme hears about this case, he is intrigued by it and greatly impressed with Amelia’s work. Working from his bed, with only his brain, shoulders and a finger, he has his fellow officers set up a workstation in his house, allowing him to guide Amelia as they take on the serial killer. Amelia is quite resistant at first, but winds up giving in as she goes from one gruesome crime scene to the next. Rhyme tells her, “I’ll be with you every step of the way.”
The quality of Denzel Washington’s acting is evidenced by his portrayal of a quadriplegic police detective, giving Rhyme such a strong presence despite his character’s physical limitations. Angelina Jolie, known for her roles in GIA and PUSHING TIN, is believable as the resistant rookie who is challenged by murder scenes that are overwhelming for her. Queen Latifah adds a good touch as Nurse Thelma and affords us some comic relief at times. Director Phillip Noyce, known for his works such as PATRIOT GAMES and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, is on familiar ground with this thriller. His sense of pacing is superb as the film moves forward smoothly and keeps its audience alert. The dialogue, however, isn’t always sharp and doesn’t always lend to credibility. Similarly, the motivation of the killer is largely unknown and his use of clues is clever but without clear purpose.
THE BONE COLLECTOR definitely succeeds in its genre of suspense thriller. This is strictly a movie for mature adults who are not sensitive to grisly gruesome scenes. Some of the images from this movie are disturbing and difficult to forget. However, it is not as powerful or disturbing as SEVEN or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.
Reflecting on Philippians 4, verse 8 (“Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things),” it is important to note that God instructs us to focus and dwell on good and pure thoughts and images. Thankfully, in a movie about evildoing, the focus is on stopping it and the courage of those who undertake such a difficult job. When THE BONE COLLECTOR focuses on the evil, it is not healthy for our minds or our souls. Yet, when it focuses on the brilliant detective work, it triumphs.
(H, Ro, LL, VVV, N, Ho, M) Humanistic worldview of crime solving with romantic overtones between main characters; 33 obscenities & 8 profanities; numerous post murder scenes that are gruesome including depictions of bloodied corpse covered with rats & another corpse scalded to death by steam, implied paralyzation by falling beam, & man bites man’s ear; no sex but brief image of women kissing at implied lesbian bar; brief upper male nudity; and, grisly images of severed limbs, kidnapping & disturbing suicidal feelings expressed.
In THE BONE COLLECTOR, Denzel Washington plays bedridden, quadriplegic New York police detective Lincoln Rhyme. A forensics expert, he teams up with rookie cop Amelia Donaghy to stop a serial killer. Her natural instincts enable her to gather the evidence brilliantly. Once Rhyme hears about this case, he is intrigued by it and is greatly impressed by Amelia’s work. Working from his bed, with only his brain, shoulders and a finger, he has his fellow officers set up a workstation in his house, allowing him to guide Amelia as they take on the serial killer.
The BONE COLLECTOR succeeds in its genre of suspense thriller. Solid performances from Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie make THE BONE COLLECTOR a reliable spine tingler despite some plot holes. This is strictly a movie for mature adults who are not sensitive to gruesome scenes. However, it is not as disturbing as SEVEN or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Also containing several obscenities and some depicted violence, this movie is a by-the-book detective story with a few strong performances. In a movie about evildoing, the focus is on stopping evil and the courage of those who undertake such a difficult job.