Noyce expertly builds palpable tension around a series of gruesome murders that lead us into the darkest nooks of New York City. Now a bedridden quadriplegic prone to life-threatening seizures and suicidal depression, forensics detective Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) gets a new lease on life with a sharp young beat cop (Angelina Jolie) who's a wizard at analyzing crime scenes. She does field work while he deciphers clues from his high-tech Manhattan loft, and as they narrow the search their lives are increasingly endangered. As this formulaic plot grows moldy, Noyce resorts to narrative shortcuts, using perfunctory scenes to manipulate the viewer and taking morbid pleasure in his revelation of the murder scenes. And yet it all works, to a point, and the cast (including Queen Latifah and Luiz Guzmán) is much better than the material. If you're looking for a few good thrills, The Bone Collector is a pretty safe bet. --Jeff Shannon
Police detective Lincoln Rhyme, (Denzel Washington is wonderful in this role - but isn't he always?), is considered to be THE genius of forensic science. His books on the subject are mandatory study at the Police Academy. During an investigation, four years before, Rhyme was involved in a terrible on-the-job accident which left him a quadriplegic and bedridden. Attached to life sustaining machines, he is only able to move one finger and his head and neck. He is subject to seizures that threaten to leave him a vegetable. A very angry man, he is bored and, at times, suicidal. Still an official member of the force, his former colleagues visit him constantly and involve him in difficult cases. A new, troubling case forces them to seek his help, yet again.
Rookie cop, Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie), works with the city's troubled youth. By chance she discovers the half-buried body of a powerful New York City businessman, near a railroad track. She, almost intuitively, knows what to do to protect the forensic evidence. Sending a witness off to buy a disposable camera, she takes photos of the crime scene before a rainstorm can wash away the evidence. She then, single-handedly, stops a train to preserve valuable clues. Rhyme decides she has natural forensic talent and demands she be placed on the case. So she reluctantly joins his team. Donaghy does the leg work, connected by a headset to Rhyme, while he instructs her. The two puzzle over clues and work the case from his bedside. And the leg work is brutally grim. This killer, intelligent and demented, thinks up some awful ways to commit murder. The crime scenes are elaborately set-up and clues are purposefully left that would stump the most avid puzzle addict. The gruesome crimes remind me of those in the movie "Seven."
The mystery is intriguing and the forensic work absolutely fascinates. The chemistry between Rhyme and Donaghy is palpable. This is more than a student-mentor bond, although it takes them a while to get the relationship off the ground. He is cranky and imperious - she is just plain ornery. Amelia brings him to life again and he stops contemplating euthanasia. In turn, he brings new energy to Amelia's life and forces her to open up. Queen Latifa (as Rhyme's nurse) and Luis Guzman (as a fellow cop ands friend) are show stealers.
This is no "Silence of the Lambs," but it is good entertainment. The camera gives the ambiance a dark and brooding look and provides some interesting angles. Often predictable, there are still surprises and the growing closeness between the detective and the cop is very well done and subtle. Although "The Bone Collector" is not a "must see," it is certainly an exciting way to spend a rainy night.