The Bone Collector (HD-DVD)
B Sound: B Extras: C- Film: D
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.
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.
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
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