Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1999. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Jeremy Iacone, based on the book by Jeffery Deaver. Cinematography by Dean Semler. Produced by Martin Bregman, Michael Bregman, Louis A. Stroller. Music by Craig Armstrong. Production Design by Nigel Phelps. Costume Design by Odette Gadoury. Film Editing by William Hoy.
Typical and predictable thriller that is worth watching only for its amusingly gothic atmosphere and a great lead performance by Angelina Jolie. She plays a patrol officer who stumbles on a serial killer’s trail when she discovers the body of a rich industrialist buried near an old railway station. The case that blows open is then headed by a genius ex-cop (Denzel Washington) who, following a tragic accident, is now a quadriplegic confined to bed. Although he has lost most of his sensory perception in his body, he still has his bloodhound-sharp knack for cracking the toughest evidence. Washington thinks Jolie should be the primary investigator in this case because her inborn instincts are as sharp as his own, and he therefore can do the investigating through her. It seems like she should be impressed, but this little method is a lot more arrogant and belittling than the film seems to realize: even Angelina looks a bit peeved to be treated like a token cop. Our serial killer, on the other hand, is leaving his victims’ bodies with painfully obvious clues as to when and where his next kill is going to be. This wouldn’t be quite so stupid a plot element if the characters didn’t act so surprised every time the culprit displayed his willingness to divulge, and instead they seem to be totally clueless to the fact that this guy is obviously begging to be caught for one reason or another (anyone seen Copycat? Sigourney Weaver clears this up in her opening speech).