The Bone Collector (1999)
Main cast: Angelina Jolie (Amelia Donaghy), Denzel Washington (Lincoln Rhyme)
Director: Phillip Noyce


There are two glorious moments that stick to my mind in this movie. Angelina Jolie stopping a train in its tracks half an hour into the movie with sheer determination alone, and the same woman, as she is tempted despite her better jusdgements, running her fingers in reluctant albeit fascinated exploration of Denzel Washington's throat. Angelina Jolie, smouldering and defiant, is clearly an actress who knows her stuff. She is the clear star in this otherwise rather implausible if enjoyable movie.

The plot is a bit of an annoyance to me because it just doesn't make sense. A serial killer is killing seemingly at random, leaving behind clues for the police to find. Amelia stumbles upon a victim and has to stop a train to prevent it from messing up the scene of crime. From this, bedridden and and paralyzed former cop Lincoln decides that she has a gift for forensics and enlists her as his eyes and hands in the investigation. I don't see how he sees her as gifted as frankly, what she did back there in the scene of crime was pretty routine stuff cops do on NYPD Blues and other TV movies all the time. Guess Lincoln has been watching too much substandard cop TV shows in his free time.

Amelia is reluctant to do so, especially when she is asked to saw off a corpse's wrist. However, after witnessing one too many atrocities commited by the killer, she throws herself into the case with a vengeance. Obstacles in Lincoln and Amelia's path include bungling stubborn cops rented from cheap TV shows and Amelia's torment (she is still recovering from seeing her father commit suicide). Christmas bonuses for them both include a budding romance.

TBC is a taut, gripping thriller despite its sometimes contrived and illogical plot twists, thanks to its stars. Denzel Washington looks great and acts like a dignified hero (despite his rather reckless tendency to send an unprotected Amelia into danger). Angelina Jolie radiates fire and icy class, while Queen Latifah as Lincoln's live-in doctor is funny and spunky if underused.

TBC may not be first class Silence Of The Lambs stuff, but it has a brilliant casting agent. I enjoyed it for the stars, if nothing else.

Rating: 70


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