Ty Burr
March 14, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bone Collector

Current Status
In Season
118 minutes
Angelina Jolie, Denzel Washington, Queen Latifah
Phillip Noyce
Universal Home Video
Jeremy Iacone
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C+

Lincoln Rhyme, the criminologist supercop played by Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector, lives in an apartment surrounded by high-tech forensic gadgetry. When the NYPD is stumped by a wave of mysterious homicides, a platoon of detectives sets up shop at his bedside so Rhyme can work his deductive magic. Because, for all his mental gifts, our hero is bedridden, a quadriplegic able to move only his head and his index finger.

The movie is very much the same: a gimmicky thriller propped up by genre conventions set in congealing industrial grime by ”The Silence of the Lambs” and, especially, ”Seven.” As in that film, it’s always raining a diseased, urban drizzle, and somewhere in a deserted steam tunnel, a crazed serial killer is offing victims in ways that seem more designed for baroque camera angles than to assuage any particular psychological kinks.

So what do you get for your $3.50? A few horrific death tableaux, Angelina Jolie’s jolly pout as the street cop who becomes Lincoln’s eyes and ears on the outside, and a killer who, for all the fiendishly knotty clues he strews about, turns out to be a whiny little snit. Oh yes — and a performance from Washington that lacks body in every respect.

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