The Watcher (2000)
Critic Consensus: The Watcher has Keanu Reeves cast against type, but the movie is short on thrills, suspense, and believability.
A detective is urged on by the lunatic he's trying to put behind bars in this crime thriller. Joel Campbell (James Spader) is a police detective who has recently relocated to Chicago after spending eight frustrating years trying to track down a vicious serial killer who has been terrorizing Los Angeles. However, the slayer, David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves), doesn't want the game of cat and mouse to end; even though he previously put his murderous activities on hold, Griffin has started murdering young women again -- and is sending clues to Campbell, mailing him photos of his intended victims and urging Campbell to save them while he still can. Also starring Marisa Tomei, Ernie Hudson, and Chris Ellis, The Watcher was directed by Joe Charbanic. It marked Charbanic's first feature project after directing videos for a number of alternative rock groups, including Soul Coughing, Sonic Youth, and Reeves' band, Dogstar. The film was produced under the title Driven. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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as Joel Campbell
as David Allen Griffin
as Jack Fray
as Flower Girl
as Business Woman
as Wanda's Sister
as Computer Tech
as Photo Store Employee
as Coffee Store Clerk
as Supervising Agent
as Female Reporter
as Young Woman
as Campbell's Secretary
as Television Reporter
as Motel Clerk
as Bloody Guy
as Bennigan's Manager
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Critic Reviews for The Watcher
You can't buy Keanu as a sadist, but you do worry about the guys who wrote the screenplay.
First-time director Joe Charbanic seems to have watched too many music videos.
Has 'direct to video' stamped all over it.
A shockingly, unbelievably bad movie.
We can't ignore the lack of anything resembling substance or purpose in The Watcher.
Audience Reviews for The Watcher
The Watcher is a fairly decent thriller, better at atmospherics than plot or characterization. It's a cat and mouse game featuring a relationship between the killer and the detective, somewhat like Eastwood's Bloodwork or the Danny Glover-Dennis Quaid thriller, Switchback. Keanu Reeves is seductive and creepy without being too stereotypical, while James Spader is excellent. He's such a good actor he makes anything he's in better. Reeves isn't capable of emotional depth, but he portrays enthusiasm convincingly here. Marisa Tomei is a great choice for Spader's girlfriend, but she's criminally underutilized in this movie.
The film is just too implausible, but I liked the overall atmosphere. The setting in Chicago is another great touch. Since the plot is so derivative or unoriginal that it is negligible, the film depends on its big budget and performances. On those points, it succeeds. This certainly isn't an outstanding film, but the 10% average doesn't do it justice either.
Cast: James Spader, Keanu Reeves, Marisa Tomei, Ernie Hudson, Chris Ellis, Robert Cicchini, Jenny McShane, Rich Komenich
Director: Joe Charbanic, Jeff Jensen
Summary: Burned out after failing to bust a sadistic serial killer in Los Angeles, FBI agent Joel Campbell (James Spader) retires to Chicago. But the killer (Keanu Reeves) refuses to leave the lawman alone, and begins furnishing new clues designed to drive him mad. To motivate Campbell to rejoin the cat-and-mouse chase, the killer sends photos of his next victims. But it's up to Campbell to try to save them first.
My Thoughts: "I liked it. Thought it was a good thriller. It's just you see so many movies about serial killers they all start looking the same. But I enjoyed Keanu Reeves playing the bad guy. Love him, Spader and Tomei. They were my reasons for watching this flick. They all did a great job. The movie is never slow, and it keeps you interested all the way through. Good rental."
Tense, twisting plot, great ending. The relationship between the characters in this crime drama sets it apart from other serial killer movies. In fact, I would have like another 15 minutes in the movie to bring out these relationship even more. I would have like a little more elaboration on what happened in the past between James Spader and Keanu Reeves. Reeves plays as the serial killer is very well.
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