Projections - Movie Reviews

Suspect Zero
Suspect Zero
Starring Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley, Carrie-Anne Moss,
Harry Lennix, Kevin Chamberlin, Julian Reyes

A nondescript title such as Suspect Zero is fitting for director E. Elias Merhige’s psychological thriller, a muddle of fractured images and motivations that aspires to a dramatic feel never reached

The premise, a serial killer preying on serial killers, is fresh on the surface, but Zak Penn and Billy Ray’s script wanders from that notion to only rely on the un-trackable killer premise.

Merhige then all but abandons any pretense of a script from time to time fling disjointed montages of victim’s faces, lidless eyes, abductions of children conveyed through abandoned playthings such as a suddenly vacant swing or a basketball rolling idly away.

The visual barrages often make afterthoughts of Merhinge’s principal players, Aaron Eckhart and Carrie Anne Moss as FBI agents, Ben Kingsley as a shadowy manipulator baiting them.

Some of the imagery is quite striking, yet it feels like a heavy handed exercise in visualizing diseased minds. The film attempts to delve so deeply into the subconscious that it forgets to come up for air.

Eckhart plays Thomas Mackelway, an FBI agent disgraced by his failure on a previous serial murder case. Paired with former partner Fran Kulok (Moss), Mackelway is thrust into a new case in which the gruesome slayings take on personal meaning.

A mental patient named Benjamin O’Ryan (Kingsley) is quickly revealed as the killer, but his motives are cloudy. A refugee from a government experiment in extrasensory perception, he possesses strange powers to foretell his victims and Mackelway’s movements and seems to be leaving bodies like bread crumbs as a puzzle for the agent to unravel.

Seemingly doing the authorities a favor by ridding society of another mass murders, O’Ryan leads Mackelway into his obsession about Suspect Zero a “random killing machine that never leaves a clue.”

Mackelway begins to suspect that O’Ryan is pursuing a murderer responsible for killing an unthinkable number of vanished people. Yet his bureau colleagues lean toward an easier solution: O'Ryan himself is the killer they seek.

The story intrigues early on, promising fresh twists, suspense and surprises in the tried sub-genre of grisly serial killer tales but in the end, Suspect Zero fails to deliver much that is new.

Suspect Zero

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