The Bone Collector (1999)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Bone Collector</strong> (1999)

(In French, On TV, June 2015) In some ways, The Bone Collector plays like a collection of crime clichés that drive me insane: The evil serial killer setting up extensive traps and clues, the disabled detective figuring everything from the comfort of his apartment, the standard-issue plot structure in which one-two-three murders set up the final confrontation between hero and villain.  There are few surprises here, and yet I was surprised to find myself enjoying the film’s slickness, Denzel Washington’s performance as the quadriplegic detective, Angelina Jolie’s turn as the action-heroine policewoman, New York as a backdrop and, frankly, the unapologetic crime-thriller energy of the entire film.  Director Phillip Noyce has done his job: The Bone Collector may be filled with clichés, but they happen to be clichés I hadn’t seen in a while and may have been missing just a little bit.  Part of me was annoyed at the film’s far-fetched plot mechanics, while a larger part sort-of-enjoyed the same ride again.  There may be some truth to the old saw that “they don’t make them like that anymore” given how big-budget nineties-style crime thriller (without fantastic elements) seem to have vanished from the modern Cineplex: If that’s the case, then there are still older examples of the form to fall back up, and fifteen years later, even The Bone Collector can start to look good.

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