Some people were led to believe from the trailer that Keanu Reeves could actually be decent as the strangling serial killer in "The Watcher." Too bad they were wrong. This movie is so predictable viewers will be wondering where their two hours went, and not the least bit scared.
The Watcher - R
James Spader, Keanu Reeves, Marisa Tomei
Showplace West 12
FBI agent Joel Campbell (James Spader) has moved to Chicago to be closer to the grave of the beautiful woman he loved, who was slaughtered by David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves). Campbell has drifted into a lull, living off his pension, his dedication to medications for migraines and sleep and going to his shrink (Marisa Tomei) ' his one saving grace in a lonely life.
He is sucked back into fighting crime when Griffin, whose point of view throughout the film is very nicely shown in a raw, eerie light, follows him to Chicago and starts sending him FedEx packages (talk about product placement) with pictures of the women he is going to strangle with piano wire. He sends the "head-start" packages with the condition that he will give Campbell and his cronies until 9 p.m. the next night to find her before he kills her.
The always-interesting Spader is amazing as Campbell, and this is truly his movie. Tortured by the past he cannot escape and hoping to start anew, he pursues Griffin with an unparalleled intensity.
Reeves is at his best in the role of predator, and this is especially true of the way he is so casual with his young female victims. Ultimately, Reeves is as good as his role is limited, and he doesn't seem to do very well with the evil genius part of the role. Tomei is all but forgotten until, guess what, her affection for Campbell gets in the way of Griffin's game.
Highly predictable (if you have seen the trailer, you have seen the movie), this movie offers nothing new in the "let's figure the serial killer's motives out" genre that has recently permeated the big screen in other films like "The Cell."
By the time the viewer gets to the finale with all three characters in a dank warehouse illuminated by candles, you will realize that no amount of candles could shine light on this dead-on-arrival picture.