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Suspect Zero (2004)

Suspect 0

Whos next?

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 99 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque! It’s off to Prefab Sprout’s favourite New Mexican haunt for this yawner of a crime-flick in which a serial killer appears to be killing other serial killers. Whatever happened to solidarity?

It stars Ben Kingsley as the creepy Benjamin O’Ryan, the only credible suspect that those responsible for scribbling down this load of piddle could be bothered writing lines for, and the bum-chinned Aaron Eckhart as Thomas Mackleway, a Fed with a jaw-line so well-defined it makes Gail Platt weep with envy. Mackleway isn’t a man with his problems to seek. Some misdemeanour or other led to him being kicked out of his last gig up in Texas (my guess is that he was caught nicking office stationery), his favourite food appears to be headache tablets, and he’s just been paired up with an irksome former colleague in the form of Agent Fran Kulok (Carrie-Anne Moss, looking – as always – as if she would happily rise to the challenge of staring out a ping-pong ball).

In fact, the poor fellow appears to be in such a permanent state of anxiety that actually giving him a bit of work to do seems a touch on the cruel side – but work he must, for our grisly killer stops for no man’s personal problems. Fortunately though, like all good Movie Land killers, our baddie has a calling card – in this case, the removal of his victims’ eyelids. As a result, their bodies are left to spend the rest of eternity staring wildly into the distance – a bit like Carrie-Anne Moss, actually. In fact, come to think of it, Ms Moss could make herself useful by lending her own eyelids to one of the bodies. After all, it’s not as if she ever uses them. But I digress…

This is a rubbish film. Helmsman E. Elias Merhige seems more concerned with drawing our attentions to his own questionable directorial talents than presenting us with a feasible story. He seems obsessed with using tastelessly over-stylistic flashes of nothing-in-particular, not to enhance the tale or keep us interested, but as some sort of attempt at pretending the whole thing is much more deep-thinking than it actually is. Perhaps he doesn’t think anyone will notice that, minus the superfluous MTV-style imagery, this is a very linear, very simplistic and very dull story about a serial killer and the bloke trying to find him. Clearly, he thinks his entire audience are marble-brained simpletons – because that’s what you’d need to be not to realise that this movie is a sham.

It's Got: Eckhart and Moss predictably getting it on – despite the fact that they don’t even get on.

It Needs: To explain why, under Hollywood law, if a man and woman hate each other’s guts then it must mean that they secretly have the hots for each other. Whatever happened to just plain hating somebody?


The sofa-jawed Aaron Eckhart is more zero than hero in this snooze-inducing destitute man’s ‘Se7en’.