- Actors: James Spader, Marisa Tomei, Keanu Reeves, Ernie Hudson, Chris Ellis
- Directors: Joe Charbanic
- Writers: David Elliot, Clay Ayers
- Producers: Christopher Eberts, Elliot Lewitt, Jeff Rice, Nile Niami
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Dubbed: French
- Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Release Date: Feb. 27 2001
- Run Time: 97 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 85 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00003CXND
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,208 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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The Watcher (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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Keanu Reeves ignites this action-packed, "superbly crafted thriller that zooms along like a sinister video game of hunter and prey!" (Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper and the Movies) After years of pursuing psychotic killers in Los Angeles, FBI agent Joel Campbell (James Spader) wants out. And now his nemesis, serial killer David Allen Griffin (Reeves), has tracked him all the way to Chicago just to torment him. Before each murder, Griffin sends Campbell a photograph of his intended victim and dares him to find her before he strikes again. Now, with every tick of the clock, and amidst pulse-pounding action, this stone-cold killer turns up the heat. Co-starring Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei, this game of cat and mouse will have you gasping for breath from its first terrifying frame until its final explosive conclusion!
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 FetzerSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The initial workup is intriguing. David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves) is a serial killer who has developed an obsession with Joel Campbell (James Spader), the cop who has been pursuing him. When the cop retires from the force on disability and moves to Chicago, the killer follows and resumes the killings there to torment his adversary. Griffin sends Campbell pictures of his victims in advance and dares him to try to find them before he kills them. The story is fairly tight to this point, but unravels totally after Griffin lures Campbell to a graveyard and they meet face to face. From this point forward, the absurdities are piled on to the point of silliness.
The acting is problematic. Keanu Reeves is an excellent actor, but he is miscast as the killer. He is just too nice a guy to be a sociopath. Actually, it probably would have been better if they flipped the leads because Spader would have made a very believable killer. Spader is excellent at portraying Campbell's decaying life, but his portrayal is wrong for the action roles. Normally dynamic and energetic, Marisa Tomei seems almost comatose in her dialogue with Spader during the therapy scenes, although she is great as the terrified victim after being abducted. The entire cast seems flat and subdued especially for a thriller, the responsibility for which I put with Charbanic. While Charbanic's images crackle, the actors are soggy. Although images are important in a suspense thriller, they cannot make up for flaccid performances.
I was disappointed in this film. I rated it 6/10 on the strength of the photography. It had a great deal more potential that was squandered.
with a black jacket, long hair and a constantly artificial, eerie look, Keanu Reeves is truly risking his favorite big screen images he created through the years. a piece of advice for Reeves, if you are not even close to the role you are going to portraited, doing nothing is better than doing it.
on the other hand, not everything should be taken away for merely a bad taste. the story itself is far more interesting than what it has been made of. and the only cinematographic credit i might give is somehow the negative images from the killer's viewpoint when a victim is being pursued.
other than these, some faults on detail are hardly mentionable, such as a victim's pictures are taken by a point-and-shoot camera but with a significant professional effect ------ sharpness and highly blurred background (that requires a large f-stop of 2.8 or even 1.4 which no point-and-shoot could ever produce) and amazingly impressive enlarges, also Spader is apparently a messed-up guy but dresses up quite an orderly business man when reassigned to catch the killer.
after all, this movie is hardly qualified to be an unsuccessful effort.
J Spader used to be a good actor, but he's nothing to do here besides faking migraines (unpersuasively) and acting completely out of FBI-protocol and sane person's mind. Why K Reeves was cast as the serial killer here escapes my understanding: besides having black hair and black eyes (attributes hinting at his maliciousness, no doubt), he's ridiculous dancing in slo-mo in front of his victims, harassing the detective and voicing his text with as much pomp as you can withstand. Also please tell me who decided that heavy panting of him behind the frame augments the tension?
Although the plot follows the well-trodden lane of such flicks, the facts and details are thrown at the viewer chaotically, probably supposing he'll accept everything (hate this concept!). M Tomei's character serves the only purpose she can have in such a movie, but her involvement with Spader (besides the fact that she's his shrink) is so poor and unemotional, no one cares about her. The preposterous last 20 minutes will not fail your worst expectations (if by that time you haven't switched your VCR).
An episode of the Simpsons that followed the Watcher contained 5 times more entertainment. Keep away; better spend your money on something else!
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