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Bone Collector, The

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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 11, 2000 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:
While I'm not a fan of this sort of genre, "The Bone Collector" is sucessful almost completely due to the fact that it includes a wonderful cast who perform outstandingly. Both Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie turn in excellent performances, and Ed O'Neill is a highlight of a strong supporting cast.

Washington plays police officer Lincoln Rhyme, who was paralyzed on the job when a beam fell on him. Bedridden, he's extremely depressed and taken care of by a maid named Thelma(Queen Latifah). When he's confronted with a new case and a new partner named Amelia(Angelina Jolie), he finds himself eager again to try and solve the crime. Both Washington and Jolie work extremely well together, and have a few very entertaining exchanges. There is a sequence where Rhymes must lead Amelia through a crime scene from his bed - Jolie plays the fear and horror of the scene perfectly, and Washington does the more serious role very well. The only character I didn't like was the tough cop played by Michael Rooker. He's a fine actor, but this is a very simplistic "bad guy".

There are times though where I'd have rather seen these characters and performances in a different film. The plot's a little thin at times, and sometimes it's a little too disturbing. These are great performances though, especially Jolie, who is impressive in the role. Although I'll admit I haven't seen all of her films, in my opinion, this is the best performance I've seen from her. Also a pleasant suprise was the score by Craig Armstrong, which manages to be both haunting and elegant. "The Bone Collector" has it's share of flaws, but I was really suprised by how strong the performances were. Although the general pace of the movie is fairly slow at times, I was involved enough with the film that it went by quickly. It's something I'd recommend as a rental.


VIDEO: There are DVD releases that, while they may have a few small flaws here and there, otherwise look so stunning that the flaws are hardly distracting. "The Bone Collector" is one of those instances, with picture quality that is really quite outstanding. It's definitely a movie that takes place in a lot of darkness or dimly lit scenes, and the movie still manages to look very good. Shadow detail is excellent. When colors appear, they manage to look strong and well-saturated.

There are some slight problems, but as a whole, the image quality is so good that I didn't find these flaws to be terribly distracting. The slightest bit of shimmer in a couple of scenes is about all - the print itself is in excellent condition, with absolutely no flaws whatsoever.

SOUND: As good as the picture quality is(and it's really quite good), the audio is also excellent. From fairly subtle sounds of rain to water dripping to the louder aspects of a train coming to a quick stop, the audio gets every detail down perfect. The surrounds are used often and very effectively, and as a result the viewer is enveloped in many scenes. As I previously mentioned, I found Craig Armstrong's score to be highly enjoyable, and it sounds wonderful here, impressively crisp and pure. Dialogue is fine as well, clear and easily understood. Very well done.

MENUS:: Some of the best menus I've seen from Universal, an animated clip leads us into the main animated menu, which is perfectly done in the tone of the movie. There is also animation when the viewer makes a choice. The annoying aspect of all Universal titles happens again on this effort, where, for instance, you can't switch from the commentary to the film audio without going to the menu. You can't do it with the remote.

EXTRAS: Is this as packed as some of the other special and "Collector's" editions from Universal? No, not really - but where the disc comes up a little short in terms of quantity, it makes up for it in quality, with a great commentary.

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Phillip Noyce. While there was a period of time in the last few months that were dull and somewhat dissapointing, the begining of 2000 has given us fantastic commentaries from "Stir Of Echoes" director David Koepp, "Runaway Bride" director Gary Marshall and "Stigmata" director Rupert Wainright. Definitely add this commentary to that list. Noyce starts out the commentary with an impressive energy behind the comments he shares that doesn't let up.

He goes through impressive analysis and shares his viewpoints on all of the characters and many of the sequences. Most interesting is the way that Noyce went about defining the situation with Rhyme's character, and how Noyce viewed the requirements of the actor playing the role. He also goes into the research that Washington did for the role. He tells us about every piece that went into the pie of each of the scenes - he gives frequent detail about how the film was able to use CGI effects and he also tells the viewer about other tricks that were used to make the scenes happen.

He also takes the viewer into the processes of other parts of the movie, such as working with the composer. This is an example of where the director takes us through every layer, from rough work to recording the music, to editing the elements, as well as the jobs of all of the people who had to work on this section of the picture. Even at one point during the commentary, Noyce discusses his viewpoint on the debate over violence in the media, as well as the violence in "The Bone Collector."

Noyce goes into everything about the movie, and frequently talks about his experiences on previous films he's directed such as "Patriot Games" and "The Saint". While he pauses a moment here, a moment there, the pauses are definitely not distracting. I may not have liked everything about "The Bone Collector", but I think whether or not I enjoyed the film, I must say that I found Noyce to be a very fascinating person to listen to.

Trailers: The trailer for "The Bone Collector", as well as trailers for "Daylight" director Rob Cohen's upcoming thriller "The Skulls"(in the Universal Showcase section) and "Cry Freedom" and "Fear"(in the Recommendations section).

Spotlight On Location: A behind-the-scenes documentary taking a look at the production of "The Bone Collector", with plenty of interviews with not only the crew, but members of the cast. Aside from all the interviews, there are some nice instances where the production is shown at work. Mostly though, we're hearing from all of the cast and crew.

Also: The usual production notes and cast/crew bios.

Final Thoughts: While the movie is just ok and maybe worth looking at as a rental, I think the DVD is excellent in terms of presentation, with great audio and video quality. The commentary from Noyce is excellent, as well. If you enjoyed the movie in theaters, I'd recommend the DVD. If you didn't see it, you may want to rent it first.

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