The Bone Collector

In the vein of the thrilling crime dramas The Silence of the Lambs and Seven, there were dozens of films all wanting to be about serial killers. The thing with this subject matter is that it’s hard to get right, sometimes people end up glorifying the serial killers, or they end up overcompensating by making their heroes too smart. It’s hard to tread that line, and The Bone Collector is a great example of how it looks when you make a film with that subject matter without critically analyzing each filmmaking decision.

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The Movie Review

The Bone Collector takes audiences on a suspenseful journey into the world of a serial killer, The film follows Lincoln Rhyme, a brilliant forensic detective turned paraplegic after a tragic accident. Rhyme is approached by his superiors to assist in capturing a maniacal killer who poses as a cab driver, abducting, torturing, and leaving clues for Rhyme to decipher. With the help of rookie cop Amelia Donaghy, Rhyme embarks on a harrowing investigation, facing the killer’s taunts and delving into the darkest corners of the city.

Now, I can tell that most of the people reading this would think that this plot would make for a fantastic film, right? It doesn’t, not only is The Bone Collector filled with severe contrivances in its plot, the script essentially has so many flaws that you physically cannot follow the story without scratching your head every three minutes. I do appreciate that Philip Noyce skillfully utilizes misdirection, leaving you guessing and on edge.

However, the film’s writing falls short in every way.

It’s quite entertaining to watch Lincoln Rhyme quickly piece together logical clues that he finds around himself. However, he’s almost like Sherlock Holmes in this film, he somehow knows everything despite us actually being told that he’s that smart in any way.

There is also a severe reliance on coincidences, and you can tell because Washington’s character keeps pulling facts out of thin. It’s the perfect example of lazy writing, and it cheats you away from a grounded experience that this was trying to be.

The Characters

In terms of acting, Denzel Washington (Remember the Titans, The Book of Eli, Safe House, The Equalizer) delivers a commendable performance as Lincoln Rhyme. He’s great as the paraplegic detective, despite being confined to a bed, Denzel is just great at showing his acting prowess.

Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Beowulf, Salt) shines as Amelia Donaghy, effectively embodying the determined rookie cop. Jolie and Denzel have phenomenal chemistry in the film, despite Jolie’s character being pretty horribly written, that along with the titular killer played by Leland Orser. There was also Luiz Guzman in the film, and he’s just always fun to watch on screen.

The Bone Collector benefits from impressive cinematography that captures the essence of New York’s gritty urban landscape. The shots of the city contribute to the film’s atmospheric tone, emphasizing the dark nature of the story. Yet, when it comes to filming the characters, the film just gives up and becomes completely generic looking. It’s almost hard to differentiate The Bone Collector from any other film from the 90s and early 2000s, it’s just so… mundane.

The Music

I did appreciate the production design in the film, as it successfully created a chilling and claustrophobic atmosphere. It definitely enhanced the suspenseful elements, but not more than the original soundtrack of the film.

The score complements the atmospheric visuals, the stakes, and the actors’ performances to immerse you fully into its story. It almost serves as the backbone for this feature, holding most of the elements together. It has some drawbacks such as the editing making it too loud to hear the dialogue at times, but the soundtrack is better than the dialogue anyways so not really a complaint.


The Bone Collector is ultimately just an entertaining thriller. It has the makings of a popular film, a talented cast, a great soundtrack, suspenseful story. However, the film falls short because it lacks originality. There is nothing in this film that you wouldn’t have seen before, there is no uniqueness to it. It offers a recycled storyline, something you’ve already witnessed many times before.

The Bone Collector
The Bone Collector is a crime thriller from 1999 based on a book by American writer Jeffery Deaver (1950). Download it now and see what happened.
5.5 Total Score
The Bone Collector Review Summary

Sound & Music
  • Strong performances by Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie
  • Chilling and claustrophobic atmosphere created by the production design
  • Engaging and immersive original soundtrack
  • Severe contrivances and flaws in the plot
  • Weak script that makes it difficult to follow the story
  • Overreliance on coincidences and lazy writing
  • Poorly written character development for some roles, including the titular killer
  • Generic and mundane camerawork during filming of characters
User Rating: 5 (1 vote)
Universal Pictures, Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International
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Zain Bhatti

Zain Bhatti

Zain is an aspiring filmmaker who has invested thousands of hours of his life into understanding films and the way they are made. He has a passion for films, a love for cinematography, and adores a film that breaks the rules to bring something refreshing to the table!

Apart from films he also has a love for video games with immersive worlds and adores any piece of consumable media that he can analyze for countless hours.