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The Watcher (2000)



Average Rating: 3.4/10
Reviews Counted: 89
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 80

The Watcher has Keanu Reeves cast against type, but the movie is short on thrills, suspense, and believability.


Average Rating: 3.1/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 24

The Watcher has Keanu Reeves cast against type, but the movie is short on thrills, suspense, and believability.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 21,401

My Rating

Movie Info

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

Sep 2, 2003


Universal Pictures

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All Critics (103) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (80) | DVD (15)

You can't buy Keanu as a sadist, but you do worry about the guys who wrote the screenplay.

April 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

First-time director Joe Charbanic seems to have watched too many music videos.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Is neither slick, clever nor especially thrilling.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Reeves, as the killer, has the fairly thankless task of saying only what the movie needs him to say; he's limited by the fact that his killer has no real dimension or personality apart from his function as a plot device.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To borrow a phrase from another Chicagoan, John Belushi, The Watcher is a 'but nooooo' movie.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

He likes to watch, but you might not.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Joe Charbanic is saddled with an emotionally empty script by David Elliot and Clay Ayers, which matches Reeves's emotionally empty performance quite nicely.

February 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Tired plot and disastrous casting.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

If I never see another scene in which a woman is bound and gagged, while her killer struts around the room basking in his own psychotic cleverness, I won't mind a bit.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

Not half bad as a rental.

September 23, 2006 Full Review Source:

Nasty, sadistic, ugly and pointless.

December 10, 2005 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

One of the lamest serial killer thrillers of the post-Silence of the Lambs era.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Dreadful performances, scanty motivation and excruciating dialogue.

December 16, 2002 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

The script sucks, the directing sucks, and, as much as I do like him, Keanu sucks.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat | Comment (1)
Film Threat

Peters out like a late-night drunk when its threadbare plot and poorly drawn supporting characters start to stand out like a row of empty shot glasses.

July 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The most fun you can have with this insultingly formulaic and utterly predictable film is trying to guess which cliché will be next.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source:

A leaden, somber and suspenseless thriller.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source: Movieline

The scenario involving a seductive predator obsessed with female loners is not coherent enough to seduce an audience.

March 24, 2001 Full Review
WBAI Web Radio

Utiliza el gastado recurso argumental de que tanto el bueno como el malo se necesitan mutuamente para poder existir

March 16, 2001 Full Review Source: Moviola

all the self-consciously hip style in the world isn't enough to compensate for an inert story that has no real destination

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Comes this close to overcoming its problems and succeeding as a thriller, but doesn't quite make it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Perhaps because of his shaggy-slacker demeanor, Reeves inspires another reaction altogether: snickering.

January 1, 2000
Orlando Weekly

It's grindingly mediocre, in a way that probably would have sent it straight to video were Reeves' name not on the marquee.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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.
May 6, 2014
Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

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."
July 23, 2010

Super Reviewer

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.
June 11, 2009
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

An average thriller about a serial killer who taunts the FBI detective who has been on his case for the past few years. Watchable, but pretty straight forward compared to most thrillers.
October 26, 2008

Super Reviewer

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