2290. The Bone Collector (1999)

7.3 An engrossing mystery
  • Acting 7.3
  • Directing 7.2
  • Story 7.3
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah

Director: Phillip Noyce

Running Time: 118 mins

The Bone Collector is an American film about a bed-ridden homicide and crime scene specialist who comes in to direct the investigation of a series of mysterious and gruesome killings across New York City.

If you’re looking for a good mystery that will keep you guessing and looking hard for clues throughout, then The Bone Collector is the movie for you. It’s hardly the most taxing thriller you’ve ever seen, but thanks to a pleasantly intricate screenplay that’s combined with an entertaining pace and some good performances, the movie is engrossing nonetheless, and exactly the sort to give you an engaging way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy day.

Let’s start with what the film does best, and that’s tell a good story. It’s not immensely thrilling, nor is it as deeply exhilarating as some of cinema’s best thrillers, but it tells a story that kept me thoroughly engrossed right the way through, and one that focuses on both an intricate and rather unpredictable mystery, as well as the psyche of its two main characters, played by Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.

In that, fans of the crime thriller genre will be fully satisfied here, as you get the opportunity to look for clues and hints to the resolution of the mystery in the most minute details, while those looking for something that goes a little deeper will also have something to focus on, as we get a good insight into the straight-talking persona of Denzel Washington’s legendary crime scene specialist, as well as Angelina Jolie’s talented and strong-willed, yet conflicted young officer.

Watching The Bone Collector is like reading a decent novel. It’s not a particularly taxing watch, and the movie does hold your hand in explaining some of the more complex lines of inquiry, makiing it a rather pleasant and entertaining movie to watch. If you’re looking for something to really get the blood pumping, in the vein of Se7en or The Dark Knight, then you may come out a little disappointed.

And that’s part of my issue with this film, is that it’s just a little bit too simple. It tells an enjoyably intricate story that kept me engrossed throughout, but the screenplay lets things be resolved a little too easily, partly down to the way that it portrays Denzel Washington’s character as an investigator with what seem to be superpowers of crime detection, figuring the most minute and admittedly ludicrous details out without much effort at all.

As a result, I felt a little unsatisfied with the way that the film walks you through the entire investigation, leaving most of the solving to be done by the characters on screen, rather than you as the viewer. While the film leaves clues about the next actions of the killer, there’s not much to really engross you in the hunt for the killer’s identity, leaving its ultimate reveal a little underwhelming and seemingly irrelevant.

It does make the film an easier watch, and I appreciated how entertaining this movie was as a result, which, combined with those two strong central performances and simply good story at the core, makes for a decent film regardless. However, I just wish that it gave a little more room in the screenplay for the viewer to work out the developing mystery more independently, as I felt a little robbed of those beautifully satisfying moments of realisation that the best crime thrillers bring about, which is why I’m giving The Bone Collector a 7.3 overall.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com