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Suspect Zero back to product details

I'm a bit weird, but I loved watching this.
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written by Battie June 6, 2005 - 4:27 AM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
As a horror fan, I've also branched into thrillers and crime dramas before. Usually with little success. I've seen all the major serial killer thrillers of the last several years, but none of them were quite as enjoyable as this. It may just be that I like Ben Kingsley. ^_^

Or it could be that I didn't have nearly as much information on the movie as the synopsis above. All I knew was that Kingsley played a psychic FBI agent who could see into the minds of serial killers. Needless to say, this made the movie much more of a mystery than it would've been had I known everything above.

That said, I didn't expect to like this movie all that much. Kind of figured it'd just be something to watch. In fact, at one point, I almost turned it off to sleep. But the story picked up right then, and I found myself staying awake to finish it. I have trouble saying why this was a good movie to me, beyond the fact that everything I saw was a mystery. It may be because Kingsley did such a good job of making himself ambiguous. Despite the fact that I knew that he was the sort-of good guy, there were a number of moments where the story, and Kingsley himself especially, made me doubt that.

The mixed look at evil serial killers, and a vigilante serial killer killing for the good of society, was rather interesting. The fact that Kingsley's character was killing, and sometimes horribly, didn't make him the good guy. I'm always appreciative of movies that create characters that aren't wholly sympathetic or utterly repulsive. I like the grey area. Suspect Zero accomplished that very well.

To top it off, I wasn't sure until the end why Kingsley's character did those things rather than just feed the information to the FBI. Why he taunted Agent Mackleway. And like I said, I wasn't even sure he was hunting serial killers. (Which leads me to state a rather huge problem today: trailers and movie information giving away almost the entire plot in order to get sales, leaving the viewer bored once they actually see the movie.)

Overall, I just really enjoyed the suspense and build-up of tension in this movie, plus Ben Kingsley's performance (as dramatic as usual).

Rather pointless (spoilers)
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written by brakhage May 4, 2005 - 1:23 PM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I found this to be a pretty dreary exercise in Yet Another Omniscient Serial Killer Flick. The first scene is frankly the only really involving one, with some nice blocking and framing, and good performances. Then it degenerates into endless shots of the protagonists standing around and looking distraught, while every cut is punctuated with a 'scary' sound effect. Man, that's tedious. Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure) could completely own this film if he chose to remake it, since he knows how to create atmosphere and terror without relying on tired cliches. Kingsley's massive talent is utterly wasted, and the other actors are walking cardboard even though they're giving the material their best shot. Merhige is a spooky guy and a wonderful craftsman - he has a great mainstream horror movie in him somewhere, but this ain't it. Shadow of the Vampire was weak but more interesting than this, and Begotten is brilliant but impossible for most people to take. The only thing that Suspect Zero did for me is remind me of the government's bizarre psy-ops remote viewing program, which I'd completely forgotten about. Take the time you would have spent watching this (unless you're a total serial-killer-film junkie) and go find some books on it. Or grab something else from your queue.

Better than a Bad Average
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written by talltale April 22, 2005 - 4:03 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
One of the better-than-average serial killer movies ("average" being pretty bad, of course), SUSPECT ZERO is more interesting than most reviewers have let on. The central idea--which I won't discuss, since that will ruin much of the thrust and surprise (reviewers were, as usual, cavalier about giving away too much too soon)--has as much to do with vigilante as with serial killer, and this adds a measure of interest to the proceedings. Given its subject matter (missing children), the movie chooses not to revel in excessive gore and blood, which also a bonus (except for those who delight in this sort of thing).

Where the film falls down is in its execution: repetitive, arty shots of characters using their "visualization" techniques (Michael Chapman is credited with the clichéd cinematography, although some of his framing is quite good); too much coincidence (of course, it's not really coincidence if these folk are psychic!); and a screenplay that is often too literal. Aaron Eckhart brings a nice vulnerability to his FBI guy, Ben Kingsley is properly scary/dramatic, but Carrie Anne Moss stands around with almost nothing to do (well, you've got to have a woman here, along with some romantic "back story"). Little seen in theatres, this one will have a stronger life on video.

SKIP THE DESCRIPTION ABOVE!
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written by dvdemon April 21, 2005 - 6:19 AM PDT
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Damn, why don't they just give away the ending while they're at it? Movies are more fun when you don't know everything in advance, right?

Suspect Zero is a crime thriller that revolves around a process called remote viewing. Ben Kingsley plays a man with this ability who is deeply affected by it. (I won't say more, but his activities attract FBI attention.) This movie gives a semi-accurate perception of remote viewing, which is a real skill that can be learned and taught. Real life professional remote viewing instructor Major Ed Dames was a consultant and makes a cameo appearance as a trainer in the film. He continues to work for the government on classified projects. Suspect Zero portrays remote viewing as a latent psychic ability, which as Major Dames has stated, it is not. It is a skill that involves ego suppression and mental discipline in order to perceive distant objects or events, and can be learned by anyone. See the extra features on this dvd for some interesting commentary about remote viewing. Unfortunately Major Dames himself was not included in the commentary! He has used remote viewing to travel down some strange highways. Find his website after you see the movie!

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(Average 5.52)
50 Votes
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