Watcher, the [Import]
James Spader stars as Joel Campbell, a former detective traumatized by the death of his lover at the hands of a serial killer he'd been hunting--a psychopath who has taken their combative relationship a little too personally, and has now tracked the retired Campbell down in Chicago. The killer, who methodically studies his victims before killing them, starts sending Campbell photographs of prospective victims and gives him a day to find them before they're killed. Campbell rises to the challenge, returns to his role as detective, and launches a comprehensive manhunt for the killer and the women in the photographs. The Watcher is surprisingly watchable--though it does suffer from an excessive use of arty cinematography. But while the psychological interpretation of the killer's behavior is a little too schematic to be convincing, the portrayal of Campbell is quite strong, particularly due to Spader's performance. A much-underrated actor, Spader is lean and efficient in his portrayal, rarely given to flashy histrionics, but compelling and emotionally complex. Unfortunately, the killer is played by Keanu Reeves; and though Reeves isn't as terrible an actor as some critics may say, he's out of his depth here. Still, Spader carries most of the movie, and the sequences in which the police are trying to track down the victims are nicely suspenseful--in fact, the movie is overall more interested in suspense than gore, making it a pleasant change from most contemporary thrillers. Also starring Marisa Tomei as Campbell's psychiatrist and budding romantic interest. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Bored with the new detective assigned to his case, the Watcher moved to Chicago to renew his relationship with Joel. At first, Joel wasn't willing to play so the Watcher changed the game. He would send a picture of his victim 24 hours before he killed her, giving Joel a fighting chance to save whomever he chose. Unable to resist the urge to try and rescue the innocent women that the Watcher was stalking, Joel found himself too late time and time again. Desperate, he turned to his psychologist, Dr. Polly Beilman (Marisa Tomei) for assistance, completely unaware that the Watcher was dogging his every step and watching his every move...
The Watcher was a decent psychological thriller, but nothing spectacular. I found James Spader completely convincing as a burned-out detective, but there was never really any spark of life that came, even when he was working on the case. He still seemed pretty detached and cold, even during the final scenes. This should have given Keanu Reeves a chance to really steal the show, but he was just not creepy enough in his role as the serial killer.Read more ›
Keanu Reeves, ah, what can one say about this attractive if dramatically challenged thespian? Think of him in BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE...or DANGEROUS LIAISONS or BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA...or most all of his films. As animated as a cucumber. But, there is hope, I think. While far from great in this role, he does bring a lot of life to his role, which is surprisingly underwritten. But if he can achieve this type of talent as also displayed in THE GIFT, Keanu may become an actor yet.
Marisa Tomei of course won everyone's puzzled surprise when she won an Oscar for MY COUSIN VINNY. Remember---they even said that the actor presenting the award read the wrong name. Well, Marisa remained dormant for a while until she came back with her strong Oscar nominated performance for IN THE BEDROOM. Alas and alack, there's not much Tomei does in this role. Embarassingly underwritten, Tomei serves little purpose and shows little emotion in this psychiatrist role.
With all that in mind, it's still a very entertaining, tense serial killer thriller. The victims are all worth feeling for, and Reeves' brutal nonchalance is chilling. Joe Cherbanic's direction is erratically captivating and Marco Baltremi's score is eclectically satisfying.
THE WATCHER is a good movie; it just could have been better with three other actors.
Keanu was originally never supposed to do this film. According to him, a friend faked his signature and signed the contract, forcing him to do the film for a much smaller actor's salary than he's used to. But thankfully for Keanu, his part as the bad guy, serial killer got extended, and he's in the movie a lot more than originally scripted.
Unfortunately, this movie comes across as being severely miscast. Keanu isn't really as evil as he was in The Gift, where he played another rare bad guy in his career. James Spader and Marisa Tomei are good in small doses, as supporting actors in other films, but they don't really light up the screen enough to succeed as lead actors.
There is virtually no suspense or insight in this and a lot of visual tricks are used to cover up what is lacking. It's pretty much known what is going to happen.
To give some of the plot away, this is one of the first films where Keanu dies. Sorry guys, but you know it's gonna happen, he's a serial killer. Of course, his character has never died in a movie, not that I know of anyway; I only have (unlucky) 13 of his films. Most of his earlier films haven't been released on DVD, and I suppose some of them I'll never get to see. I suppose you could technically say he died in Devil's Advocate, except afterwards it was like a dream, and it was what could have happened. And I suppose you could say he kinda died in the Matrix too.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I thought this was an entertaining movie overall, with a few of those parts that make you wanna just scream at the characters not to do something. Read morePublished on April 23 2004 by Minya
I thought that the names Keanu Reeves and James Spader sounded quite promising for this movie, but in fact it is just an average action movie with a storyline you saw many times... Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2004 by Sinitta
You know when a movie boasts "and Keanu Reeves" you're in pretty big trouble.
Sometimes I go with the general flow when I put down actors. Read more
Reeves makes this one work with his serial killer mood but Spader lets this one fall as the cop in search for him. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2003 by Michael Bolts
FBI-Agent Campbell (James Spader) is obviously missed by a serial-killer (Keanu Reeves), who follows him from L.A. Read morePublished on Oct. 3 2003 by Christoph Walter
I do wish I could say something positive about this film as I'm a fan of both James Spader and Marisa Tomei, but they're both wasted on this, honestly.Published on April 30 2003 by Amazon Customer
This is your average thriller movie, and is worth watching once. I would not recommend purchasing it. Keanu Reeves is definitely the downfall of this movie. Read morePublished on March 25 2003 by Jackson Brown
This movie was decent overall. It was capably acted, especially by Spader, whose ability to really breathe life into his characters shines through as usual. Read morePublished on March 2 2003 by Bri Bold
If you like scary movies this is a must have to add to your collection to make it complete!Published on Feb. 18 2003