HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Helldriver
One Hour to Zero
Battle of Billy's Pond, The
Terror in Beverly Hills
Zoo Robbery, The
Anoop and the Elephant
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
   
 
Newest Articles
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
   
 
  Minus Man, The Your friendly neighbourhood psychoBuy this film here.
Year: 1999
Director: Hampton Fancher
Stars: Owen Wilson, Brian Cox, Mercedes Ruehl, Janeane Garofalo, Sheryl Crow, Dwight Yoakam, Dennis Haysbert, Alex Warren, Eric Mabius, Larry Miller, Meg Foster, David Warshofsky, Mark Derwin, Brent Briscoe, John Carroll Lynch
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Romance
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: This offbeat psycho-thriller remains the sole directorial credit for Hampton Fancher, screenwriter of Blade Runner (1982). Based on a novel by Lew McCreary, its central character is Vann (Owen Wilson), a fresh-faced, affable young drifter who also happens to be a serial killer. A low-key, yet unsettling opening sets the tone: Vann befriends a heroin addict (a surprisingly effective Sheryl Crow) whom he poisons and arranges to look like a suicide. “I’ve never done anything violent to anybody… just the minimum that was necessary”, he recounts, in a chilling, matter-of-fact voiceover. Van rents a room from Doug (Brian Cox) and Jane (Mercedes Ruehl), and becomes a surrogate son to the troubled couple who mourn their missing daughter. He finds success as a postal worker, and a budding romance with colleague Ferrin (Janeane Garofalo), but the inexplicable urge to kill remains.

Alongside films about hitmen, serial killer movies were dime-a-dozen in the Nineties with young actors, seeking to emulate Anthony Hopkins, bringing a litany of wisecracking psychos to the screen. Snappy one-liners and outrageous schemes are often so beguiling, audiences (and more than a few critics) fail to realise these characters represent screenwriting at its laziest. All the dynamic qualities are transplanted to the psycho, leaving heroic characters colourless and uninteresting, and the movies vapid and soulless. The Minus Man is a cut above. Here the murderer is chillingly believable because he is placed amidst a well-drawn environment, inhabited by agreeably complex characters. Owen Wilson’s performance is spot-on, portraying Vann not as some colourful madman but a complete nonentity, upon whom others project their fantasies (“I take the natural momentum of a persona draw them towards me”). Interestingly, his work here anticipates his later comic persona. Give that laid back, boyish charm on display in You, Me & Dupree (2006) a few tweaks and you have yourself a sociopath.

Fancher’s low-key, unobtrusive direction avoids the serial killer clichés, yet the bloodless murders do disturb, with victims including Ugly Betty’s Eric Mabius as a football hero and a random diner at roadside café, both dispatched via Vann’s handy flask of poisoned amoretto. There are touches of dreamy Americana (slow-mo football games, white picket fenced idylls, the hypnotic open road), but Fancher - himself an actor in a string of westerns and cop shows during the 1960s - mostly centres on his performers. His long takes sap the energy from a few scenes, but vulnerable, touching performances from Ruehl, Garofalo and Cox serve him well. Not everything works: Vann’s conversations with imaginary detectives (Dwight Yoakam and 24’s Dennis Haybert) add little, his encounter with a spooky artist (Meg Foster) is an uncertain digression, and the final revelation involving a murder he has nothing to do with will have some viewers scratching their heads. This is more a mood piece than a self-propelled narrative, but if viewed in the right frame of mind, it can get under your skin.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 889 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Alexander Taylor
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: