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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Drama > Mystery > The Bone Collector (HD-DVD)

The Bone Collector (HD-DVD)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Film: D



When Phillip Noyce’s The Bone Collector arrived in 1999, there were some high expectations, though even by then the Serial Killer Cycle the film was a part of was so played out that Noyce could take it no further and the film came across as a package deal.  It did not do well as a result, but plays now like a strange time capsule of Hollywood (Sony & Universal co-produced the film) trying to ride a quick-money wave by getting top talents together in a hoped-for hit package deal.


Denzel Washington plays a clever homicide investigator who has suffered an accident severe enough to make him quadriplegic and so angry about everything that he wishes he was dead.  Sometimes distracting him from this is the need to hunt down a new serial killer, but since he cannot move, he has to go the Nero Wolfe route (the great detective never left his brownstone, though he could walk) and get a surrogate to do his footwork.  That turns out here to be a talented, ambitious, female investigator played by Angelina Jolie.  Great set-up, but screenwriter Jeremy Iacone is more interested in recycling Silence Of The Lambs and other thrillers (including George Romero’s Monkey Shines in the climax) than sticking with the basics.


Laos of interest is the rest of the interesting cast, including an early pre-star acting performance by Queen Latifah, Michael Rooker, Luis Guzman, Leland Orser and Ed O’Neill.  They are actually more interesting than anything going on here and as skilled as Noyce has proved to be in the past with thrillers like Clear & Present Danger, Dead Calm and even the better moments of Sliver, he can handle suspense and will take risks.  More morbid than any graphic violence in the film, which looks tame as compared to the current Horror/Snuff cycle, is the continued failure of the film to go anywhere with all this talent.  If you have this disc and a player, its only salvation are the technical aspects.  Don’t even try seeing it in a lesser format.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is pretty good, though some of the darker shots can have issues from the way ace cinematographer Dean Semler, A.C.S., A.S.C., has shot the film.  There are resolution issues at times, but this is better than regular DVD could hope to deliver.  Fleshtones have good moments, but the film has few memorable shots.  The sound on this film has always been a favorite for those in the know in the home theater world and for this reason, Universal has included both Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes.  The mix is not bad still, yet has not aged so well.  Still, it was at least an ambitious mix and interesting to demo now.  Extras include the original trailer, a spotlight featurette on the film and smart commentary by director Noyce who made this his last major commercial Hollywood film for years to come.  As for Washington and Jolie, it did not hurt their careers and they became even more successful.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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