The Watcher (2000)

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The Watcher: Directed by Joe Charbanic. With James Spader, Marisa Tomei, Keanu Reeves, Ernie Hudson. David Allen Griffin is a cool killer- time and time again, he chooses a female victim, studies her for weeks till he knows her routine to the smallest detail, makes meticulous preparations using his forensic knowledge to gain entry when she’s quite alone, subdues her and administers a long, torturous death. Joel Campbell got so frustrated by his failure to capture Griffin in Los Angeles, that he quit the FBI, moved to Chicago, and remains in psychiatric therapy, unable to function normally. Then he realizes, when opening his mail very late, that a new murder victim is Griffin’s, and the killer sent him pictures of her. Campbell reports this to the police, but is unwilling to join them in the search, suggesting Griffin is too slick and clever; yet he won’t get out of it that easily.

“Joel Campbell (James Spader) and David Griffin (Keanu Reeves) are like binary stars that revolve around a common center of gravity. Each man needs the other for a sense of identity. They function as a single entity, even though their motives are in moral opposition. Actually, itu0026#39;s a rather tired film concept.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn Chicago, Campbell introduces the story premise about serial killer Griffin who preys on young women, and uses his killings as a game to be played out with Campbell, who has no choice but to participate. The filmu0026#39;s structure relies on tons of flashbacks to Campbellu0026#39;s previous involvement with the killer in California.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe main problem here is that the filmu0026#39;s plot depends on multiple film clichés. Youu0026#39;ve got your standard police chase scenes with flashing lights and screeching tires. Youu0026#39;ve got your standard melodramatic TV news, repeated over and over and over. Youu0026#39;ve got a killer who can miraculously overcome every obstacle thrown at him. The filmu0026#39;s final twenty minutes are nothing but a string of cinematic clichés.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eYou get the feeling that the filmmakers used a tried-and-true money making film concept as a template, hurriedly wrote a script, then attached well-known box-office actors to rev up the financial bottom line, for quick megabucks. If that was their plan, I donu0026#39;t think it worked. For many viewers, including myself, the film comes across as stale, insipid, and uninspired.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe acting is not convincing. Both James Spader and Keanu Reeves sleepwalk through their roles, emotionally uninvolved. The casting of lovely Marisa Tomei as a psychiatrist is not credible, in a role meant for an older intellectual. But, of course, as a beautiful young woman, Tomei fits in nicely as a handy target for the killer. And the filmu0026#39;s contemporary pumped up rock music I found irritating and distracting. The color cinematography is adequate, if conventional.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;The Watcheru0026quot; is just one more cop and killer movie in a saturated genre. The film has nothing new or original to offer viewers. Maybe the two lead actors will be a tad more discerning next time when they select screenplay roles.”


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