December 12, 2004
Rated: R Runtime: 97 min Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I would have to say The Watcher was pretty good. Hardly an original movie, but not without a couple of suprises. Seeing Keanu Reeves play a real psycho in this movie is a change for him and he does a decent job. James Spader plays a relocated cop who tried in vain to catch Reeves’ serial killer while in Los Angeles. He moves to Chicago only to discover that Reeves has followed him there and is up to his old tricks.
We soon see that Spader’s character Joel Campbell has a great personal motivation in helping to catch and stop serial killer David Allen Griffin (Reeves). Not only that, Griffin has a great personal attachment to Campbell that is his motivation behind the killings. Like I said, on the surface it’s hardly original stuff. What are interesting are the details that emerge behind the connection between these two, though the movie doesn’t delve too deeply in them.
For Griffin all of it is sort of a game or a ritual that Campbell has to be a part of. He does this by sending Campbell photos of the women he intends to kill, telling him he has a day to find them before he does his serial killer thing. Griffin, trying to escape his past failures, finally realizes what’s going on (apparently it takes him up to two weeks to open some of his mail) and the hunt is on.
This movie interested me because I was curious to see how Reeves would play one messed up serial killer. I don’t see an Oscar nomination forthcoming for his performance, but he did get the job done playing a really weird guy, pretty much the opposite of his nice guy role in The Replacements. The rest of the cast did a good enough job as well. Marisa Tomei wasn’t in it a great deal, but enough to develop in interest in her character.
As for thrills and effects, it’s a mixed bag. This movie won’t make you tense up the way say, Seven did, but it kept me interested. The explosions were great in one scene, lame in another because they used computer effects instead of just blowing up a building. And the soundtrack seemed as though the producers couldn’t make up their mind what kind of atmosphere they wanted to develop. I heard techno rock (one song straight from The Matrix soundtrack), dramatic orchestral type music, and even Shaftesque low horn notes. At one point I started to feel tense over someone’s fate only to have the feeilng evaporate when the techno rock kicked in. That’s not a good thing in my opinion.
Despite the flaws it’s still a decent movie if you’re in the mood for some thrills and are curious to see how Reeves pulls off the role of a serial killer.
Popularity: 17% [?]
Seen it? How many stars do you give it?