Published Sep 01, 2004Aaron Eckhart and Carrie-Anne Moss team up with an erratic Ben Kingsley in this mediocre thriller. Forced to relocate from Texas to New Mexico, dishonored FBI agent Thomas Mackelway (Eckhart) finds himself obsessed with following the trail of bloody madness left by a psychic/serial killer (Kingsley). If the chore of hunting down a murderer isn't bad enough, the reappearance of an ex-lover (Moss) and the pestering of a jaded (and ridiculously over-acted) boss (Harry Lennix) further complicate Mackelway's life. Throw in a wacky neighbour and you would have yourself a sit-com.
Written by Zak Penn (X2, Inspector Gadget) and directed by E. Elias Merhige (Shadow of the Vampire, Anti-Christ Superstar), Suspect Zero is hardly unique. Influences of suspense/horror giants like Se7en, The X-Files and The Silence of the Lambs are distractingly conspicuous here. Also, the characters are stale and sadly range only from one to two dimensional. While Kingsley's performance is one redeeming factor, he hardly saves the film (it is tough to get chills over a grinning, big-eared bald guy).
Merhige presents a quite superfluous love story too, and as a couple, Eckhart and Moss have minimal on-screen charisma. To the director's credit however, all sexual tension appropriately dissipates as the film's suspense elements unfold. The film's flashy cinematography has been edited into this story effectively too, and serves to develop the plot as well as promote a high level of suspense.
Despite being based upon watered down moments of intrigue, Suspect Zero also offers a solid ending that is not insulting to your intelligence. In the wake of other recent thrillers, such as Secret Window or Identity, this fact is very refreshing. Still, this film is far from perfect and your theatre time could be best spent elsewhere. (Paramount)