i must have seen a different film!!
Great Film overall
Entertaining from beginning to end, it maintains the spirit of the franchise while establishing it's own seal with a fun cast
The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.
Alyssa Black (Aly200)
This movie had so much promise to a thrilling cat and mouse suspense piece. However I was quickly let down by the lack of depth to the film's main story. The premise was intriguing: a former FBI agent is on the hunt of a twisted serial killer through the streets of Chicago. Sadly the story moves too quickly for its own good and doesn't flesh out much backstory for any of the main players in the drama; particularly a lack of motive for why the film's killer is so anxious for the agent to catch him.Actor James Spader as the FBI agent is a poor use of the man's talents for playing complex characters. Spader spends most of the film moping around and attempting to be serious on catching the psychotic killer. His chemistry with co-star Marisa Tomei (playing his shrink) is sorely lacking as Tomei's doctor is meant to be Spader's main source of support. It is really disappointing how little of a backstory we get on Agent Joel Campbell. If the viewer is meant to connect with its hero then there should be depth to the character's state of mind.Playing the psychotic killer is a disturbing Keanu Reeves who does manage to ooze sinister charm into his role. Reeves does seem to relish his part as the antagonist as he portrays a sick glee in his murderous exploits and mind games with James Spader's Joel Campbell. Sadly Reeves's character is also not fleshed out as to his motivation for becoming a serial killer. Nor is his obsession with being caught by Campbell understandable. It's blatantly clear that David Griffin is psychologically disturbed, but where this first surfaced is all unclear. If the film's script had tighter than we would've had a better understanding of the importance of the "race against the clock" game Griffin initiates with Campbell.
David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves) is a meticulous serial killer. Joel Campbell (James Spader) quits the FBI in frustration and moves to Chicago. Joel is a nervous wreck and sees psychiatrist Polly (Marisa Tomei). A neighbor of his is killed and then he finds pictures of victims in his old mail. Griffin continues to taunt him with a picture of his next victim, and he reluctantly returns to the investigation.The movie is doing this bad '90s slo-mo blurry flashing thing. It's intended to be stylish, but it looks very cheesy. A lot of this movie is trying to be cool but ends up being hokey. It's trying too hard.I like a lot of the actors here. Keanu Reeves makes for a charming pretty boy serial killer. James Spader is always good especially if he's a little bit damaged. The serial killer cat and mouse game is pretty good. But I just can't get over the cheesy effects.
This thriller kind of seems old hat or may'be it came a little too late, but whatever, it's a refreshing serial killer pic. We see less and less of them now, and back when it came out in 2001, in the chronological footsteps of Hannibal, it was an open relief, there was another serial killer pic on standby. The Watcher is fun and totally entertaining, despite a terrible performance from Reeves, as a demented twisted nut who strangles young innocent women, loners, strays runaways, with piano wire, his motives kept under lock and key here. Enter retired and haunted Detective Spader, who was working the case, now reduced to what little life he has, in his new city, seeing a shrink (Marissa Tomei-the best out of the three leads) and dining at the same lousy Vietnamese restaurant. But guess who's back in town on the taunt. Pulled back into action, Spader now works with the cops in tracking down Reeves, who's sending him photographs by envelope of intended murder victims, and so begins a race against time, where Spader's given so many days to find them. Spader's off to a good start as he's not a daily mail checker. By photo, he has to make out the location, then doorknock, etc. There's moments of great intensity, amidst some lashings of heavy gore at times (remember piano wire can really cut deep) and we see Keanu waltz with one of the chosen, before the young stray senses this guys odd, and makes an exit. There's something definitely odd about Keanu's performance. He doesn't even come across as a serial killer, his straight hair that gives him more of an ordinary look. It's probably one of the worst casting decisions I've ever seen in my life. The Watcher does have bits of great suspense, plus an explosive, you would say and cool car chase, that really proves what this nuts capable of. Spader later is summoned by Keanu to a cemetery that provides some funny moments. When Tomei becomes in danger, Spader must save her and kill Keanu and finally puts his demons to rest. A highly entertaining serial killer flick, of course not in the same vein as Hannibal, and with such helpless victims here, who've never done any harm to anybody, it makes you wanna get up and shout at Reeves, and tell him to actually get a life instead of taking one.
Back when this movie was released, I read someone who wrote this : "If my cat ate bad dinner, then vomited it, her vomit would be better than The Watcher" ! Well, when I had the opportunity to watch it, I knew that it isn't that ugly after all.It's the fashion at the moment : the thrilling hunt for that smart, energetic, and completely crazy serial killer. After 9 years of it, (The Silence of the Lambs) was still swaying. Most of its following had nothing more than the dark atmosphere and the action. However this time, and a la the original, the relationship between the officer and the criminal produces a meaning. The movie points out sadly to the fact that people became too many and too busy to look to each others, so love became hard to find, consequently life became out of sense. It's distinct to have a movie of that kind while being not "out of sense" itself.I hated slight points like that FBI agent who dislikes the returning James Spader. That line didn't affect anything later, so why to make it in the first place ?! Then, the coincidence of being, out of all places, in the same mall which one of the victims works at. But, whatever. That wasn't the problem. The problems though were else where.Let's declare the always concealed, or twisted, or not spoken about much truth : Keanu Reeves doesn't know how to act. He acted in one movie, ironically one of his first, (Speed – 1994). Strangely later, and in a precedent, he turned into worse actor, and worse, and worse as he aged !Supposedly Reeves acts as the evil nuts while being terrifyingly frozen. Ultimately he just did nothing but reading his lines with dead puffed up face, managing to be terrifyingly frozen, yet as an actor ! At one point I said to myself "he doesn't have to slaughter the girls. All what he has to do is acting, or dancing, for them a little !". I deem the scene of his crazy dancing as one of the silliest images ever captured on film at all. No kidding ! Then, the director : Joe Charbanic. I don't know the guy, but according to the way he handled everything I believe he is, or has a passion to be, one of the masters of the V movies' crap. Nothing was tense about the movie. At the first phone call between the lead and its antagonist, see how he films Reeves from 2 angles with still cadres and dull cutting. The acting assures that he doesn't know a lot about acting. And the damn special effect, which he used while the actors' running, made them like idiots chasing each other in a comic silent movie from the 1920s. I couldn't stop laughing in front of that. Here's the cat's vomit. Truly, pedantry is evil !Spader did it good. But he doesn't have the charismatic glow. Despite the shortness and the usualness of her role, Marisa Tomei could be memorable due to her so expressive tearful eyes. Some of the soundtrack's rock songs did soothe the atmosphere or stir it up. I loved the one played during the search for a victim. Its lyrics harmonized with the somewhat deep sad core, embodying – even swiftly – the movie's case of desolate cities, and state, we live. As a script it's nice. It has thrill and good meaning to it, and that's rare if you ask me. As a movie it is not that nice. Wanna know why, then ask yourself why our dear director had to picture everything Reeves sees in the psychological doctor's clinic like it's an electronic image seen from The Terminator's point of view ?! Albeit Reeves as a robot sucks too ! I think that moment summarizes the answer to my question and the whole movie.As you see, (The Watcher) has 2 killers, not one !