Watcher (2000)

 
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Product Description

James Spader stars as Joel Campbell, a former detective traumatized by the death of his lover at the hands of a serial killer he'd been hunting--a psychopath who has taken their combative relationship a little too personally, and has now tracked the retired Campbell down in Chicago. The killer, who methodically studies his victims before killing them, starts sending Campbell photographs of prospective victims and gives him a day to find them before they're killed. Campbell rises to the challenge, returns to his role as detective, and launches a comprehensive manhunt for the killer and the women in the photographs. The Watcher is surprisingly watchable--though it does suffer from an excessive use of arty cinematography. But while the psychological interpretation of the killer's behavior is a little too schematic to be convincing, the portrayal of Campbell is quite strong, particularly due to Spader's performance. A much-underrated actor, Spader is lean and efficient in his portrayal, rarely given to flashy histrionics, but compelling and emotionally complex. Unfortunately, the killer is played by Keanu Reeves; and though Reeves isn't as terrible an actor as some critics may say, he's out of his depth here. Still, Spader carries most of the movie, and the sequences in which the police are trying to track down the victims are nicely suspenseful--in fact, the movie is overall more interested in suspense than gore, making it a pleasant change from most contemporary thrillers. Also starring Marisa Tomei as Campbell's psychiatrist and budding romantic interest. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews:

  • "Whoa Dude, Your Gun Is Actually Loaded!" Gimme A Break...
    Okay, who's bright idea was it to cast Keanu Reeves as the serial killer while having James Spader as the good guy cop?!!? Shouldn't of that been the other way around? While that's just one of the problems with The Watcher, it's easy to see why this film is buried in the Reeves library. Keanu plays a serial killer from California who somehow becomes infatuated with a detective that been on his tail ever since his first young female kill. When he kills a woman that Spader was having an affair with, it breaks the detective and he quits the Force, relocating to Chicago. Heartbroken, Reeves' character also moves to the Windy City, restarts his killing rampage, and gets Spader back on the case, all for the thrill of the chase.

    While this film has a few decent thriller aspects, along with a good acting job by Spader & a "phoning-in" Marisa Tomei, the whole idea of Keanu as a piano-wire carrying murderer is never truly believed. Even more terrifying is when Reeves tries to play "crazy" by doing a dance that would even make Batman's Adam West or John Travolta's Vincent Vega giggle. Overall, this is one flix that plays more like an ABC Network pilot for James Spader's character that didn't work out in favor for his Boston Legal. Only recommended to viewers that still don't understand that casting is one of the most important parts of filmmaking.
    (RedSabbath Rating:6.5/10)...more info
  • Keanu Reeves: Psychotic Dance Enthusiast...
    In THE WATCHER, James Spader is Joel Campbell, a traumatically stressed-out FBI agent in Los Angeles, mentally destroyed by the fiery death of his girlfriend. You see, not only was she burned to death, but it was partly Campbell's fault, at least in his own mind. He had left her behind in order to chase after the serial-killer who had abducted her, uaware that a fire had broken out. If only he'd untied her before leaving! The memory of this haunts Campbell for years, causing him to relocate to Chicago and sedate himself w/ drugs. Now, Campbell is in therapy (in the care of Marisa Tomei!!!!) and making little progress. Of course, things get much worse when David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves), the serial-killing nutbag from LA starts to miss Campbell and decides to track him down. Once in Chicago, Griffin begins locating, stalking, and murdering young women. He contacts Campbell, challenging him to a game of save-the-girl-before-I-kill-her. Campbell must snap out of his depressive nose-dive and get to work before Griffin kills again. I liked this movie quite a bit. Spader is excellent in his role as the shattered human being who must rise from the ashes of his own life. Reeves makes a decent maniac, driven by his need for Campbell's interest. As an added bonus, we get to see Reeves dance to Rob Zombie music (very scary stuff indeed)!... ...more info
  • Good old-fashioned piano wire.
    The Watcher starring James Spader and Keanu Reeves is a good thriller but the ending is pretty much a dead giveaway. Spader is absolutely brilliant in this and Reeves is a good actor, not sure why people give this guy such a hard time. Marissa Tomei and Ernie Hudson also star. This film lacks depth somewhat so that's why I give this film only three stars but it isn't a total waste of time either. Decide for yourself....more info
  • I'LL RIDE WITH DAVID ANYTIME!
    THIS MOVIE IS PERFECTION!KEANU REEVES DOES A PERFECT JOB AS DAVID ALLEN GRIFFIN!THE BEST PART IS WHEN THE CHASE IS ON,AND DAVID PUT HIS CAR ON FIRE-HE DRIVES IT WITH IT STILL BURNING!THIS MOVIE HAS SO MUCH ACTION,AND EXCITEMENT.IT'S ALSO SUSPENSEFUL....more info
  • KEANU REEVES
    KEANU REEVES DOES AN EXCELLENT JOB IN THIS MOVIE!HE HAS THE PERFECT LOOK AND ATTITUDE.THIS MOVIE'S FULL OF SUSPENSE,ACTION,AND EXCITEMENT.THIS IS THE BEST SERIAL KILLER MOVIE FROM 2000 TIL NOW,AND KEANU IS THE BEST ACTOR TO PLAY ONE!I LOVE HOW HE DROVE THE CAR,AND THEN HE PUT IT ON FIRE,AND HE STILL DRIVES!IF YOU LIKE SERIAL KILLER MOVIES-DEFINITELY GET THIS!I SEEN THIS MOVIE 4 TIMES AT THE THEATER,AND SO MANY TIMES HOME.THIS MOVIE IS EXCELLENT!...more info
  • *dazed and confused yet somewhat pleased*
    First of all, i'm glad I only paid 10 dollars for it. It was pretty good, it did have some very suspenseful moments, those chase scenes, but what was UP with the dancing (I almost died laughing while watching that). The music sounds like it was slapped on in some parts (didn't really match that well), and Keanu's voice was very...weird. Was he forcing another voice tone or...I got used to it in the end, but still. And the scenes with the therapist. I was like...huh? What's going on here? I may rewatch the film again soon. And where did the lover thing come from? Yep, i'm gonna rewatch this. *o__O*;;...more info
  • Spader's performance only saving grace
    James Spader is an often underappreciated talent who usually manages to enhance whatever film he takes part in. The Watcher is another film that fits into that niche.
    The movie itself is typical. Just another under cooked thriller with very little meat on it's bones. Spader does manage to elevate the film with his tortured but not overdone performance. His emotional struggle seems compelling despite the relative been there done that factor of everything else about this movie.
    He helps make the search for the potential of Keanu Reeves stalker seem somewhat intriguing, even if we can already predict the outcome.
    Unfortunately he can't save this film from utter ordinariness. Keanu Reeves makes a poor villian. Even though I've always found him likable, (and a better actor that he's usually given credit for), he just hard to take him seriously in this role. The film also manages to be slightly annoying. The directors had there early experience in music videos and it shows. During any scene that's supposed to be suspensful, they overload the screen with creative and flashy cinematography. There are weird slow motion and blur effects straight out of what you might have watched on MTV the night before. All this just manages to drain any sense of dread out of the proceedings.
    All of this would have been a little less obvious if the ending had atleast been decent. To bad that's just not the case. Eventually the filmmakers seem like they decided to wrap things up before they actually needed to. We are rushed to an abrupt and easy conclusion after Reeves kidnaps Marisa Tomei's pshychiatrist character. On a side note, Tomei is out of place here to, any actress could have played this nondescript and thankless role. I won't tell you what happens but suffice to say it's very little. Any strength the film had built up to that point is just neglected. Somebody at the studio must have decided production was taking to long. Or those making the film just decided they didn't care anymore. All in all, instantly forgetable. I wonder if one of the studios is ever going to churn out another one of these factory made thrillers...and it actually turns out good. You can't manufacture originality....more info
  • Horrible
    This movie was awful. There was absolutely nothing good about it. The acting was bad, especially, and unfortunetely from Keanu.
    The movie had i plot(somewhat) but nothing interesting happens and the ending was predictable. I dont recommend this to anybody....more info
  • THE WATCHER IS SURPRISINGLY WATCHABLE.
    This is a decent enough cat and mouse thriller in which a cop, Joel Campbell (Spader) comes out of retirement to catch serial killer David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves). The only catch is Griffin will provide Campbell with clues as to the identities of his next victim(s)and from hereon it's a race against the clock. While I expected this movie to be so-so, it's actually quite intriguing with a few suspenseful moments. Reeves ranges from blank to creepy as Griffin. If you want to see him in a better role as a bad guy, I recommend you rent or buy THE GIFT. Still, THE WATCHER is good for killing time and you could do far worse......more info
  • I was disappointed,,,.
    First,I want to say that what is the point in this movie?
    I could not understand this movie's point.
    This movie left me nothing.
    I do not say that actor and actress are bad, but the concept of the movie is poor.
    Thank you....more info
  • JIMMMY SPADER'S BACK AT HIS BAD... BEST YET!!!!
    This movie is truly much better than most of those critics really think.I found it to be frightening & beautiful at the same time when I watched this for about the fourth or fifth time. Plus Keanu's character was really freaky in the way he becomes emotionally & psychologically attached to James Spader's character due to the fact that K's character believes that he and James Spader's character need each other.Also,I found James Spader's character is beautiful, but mysterious in why he is so burned-out and emotionally troubled & what is his connection with this mystery woman, who we don't know about until later, was very appealing to me. Marisa Tomei pulls off her best yet as Polly, Joel's Psychologist,which I found to sympathetic without going on sacchrine overkill.

    So go rent this movie, you won't regret it!...more info

  • One of Keanu's best!!
    I think "The Watcher" is definitely one of Keanu Reeves best movies. I liked watching him in a different role than he normally portrays. Keanu convinced me that he was truely a versatile actor in this movie. It shows that he can be more than just a hottie but, he can also be a little crazy. I am also a big fan of James Spader. He was most certainly impressive in the movie because he had to use his brain, and he was quick on his feet but, Keanu was just a little bit quicker....more info
  • the watcher
    this movie is a good movie, I have no idea why people didn't like it but I dont agre with them. It dosnt have a lot of action in it but it isnt an action movie it is a thriller and it is a good one....more info
  • No more Mr Reeves as maniac, pleeeeaaaaase!
    Although clich®¶-ridden unoriginal serial killer "thrillers" are conveyored as canned tuna now, I've not seen one so dull and insipid (and boasting two popular male leads) in months. I wonder how other reviewers find this flick full of suspense and good performances (well, it depends with whom you compare, of course. The world has seen worse, certainly. "Return of killing tomatoes", for example).

    J Spader used to be a good actor, but he's nothing to do here besides faking migraines (unpersuasively) and acting completely out of FBI-protocol and sane person's mind. Why K Reeves was cast as the serial killer here escapes my understanding: besides having black hair and black eyes (attributes hinting at his maliciousness, no doubt), he's ridiculous dancing in slo-mo in front of his victims, harassing the detective and voicing his text with as much pomp as you can withstand. Also please tell me who decided that heavy panting of him behind the frame augments the tension?

    Although the plot follows the well-trodden lane of such flicks, the facts and details are thrown at the viewer chaotically, probably supposing he'll accept everything (hate this concept!). M Tomei's character serves the only purpose she can have in such a movie, but her involvement with Spader (besides the fact that she's his shrink) is so poor and unemotional, no one cares about her. The preposterous last 20 minutes will not fail your worst expectations (if by that time you haven't switched your VCR).

    An episode of the Simpsons that followed the Watcher contained 5 times more entertainment. Keep away; better spend your money on something else!...more info

  • WORTH WATCHING
    This movie has gotten such a bad rep,It just sickens me.Spader lifts this movie to a cool level,He should be getting a twenty million dollar pay check, Instead of reeves.I mean this guy hasnt acted great since the "Devils advocate".The two problems with this movie are reeves, and a little predictability,other than that the movie is good entertainment....more info
  • Good if you Think
    The 3 good things are that it's a thinker's movie. The excellent special effects. And the plot kicks arse. The one bad thing is that Keanu is in it and I'm not prepared to admit that, yes he is a good phsyco. He is supposidly a bad actor but he can also play a good Christ character in Matrix and a good lawyer in Devil's Advocate. And he is awful at acting but can play these roles well, and they're diverse roles. There are same major things that you need to realize when you watch this movie. I came in giving it 2 stars, but after seeing it I loved it. My mom hated (3 weeks before I saw it) it until I told her this information: James Spader's lover that got killed by Keanu was an affair he was having. This is the only woman he has loved. Reeves is the only connection to the woman DONT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET and he can't kill him because of that. The picture they flash up on the screen for Jane Doe 3 at the end wasn't of Mira Sorvino, but of the woman who Spader had an affair with. And that's how he knew to go the grave. It was cool touch. Spader had been living in the past. That's why spader couldn't kill Reeves. The flashbacks stopped when he was put at the cross-road in his life: continue to live in the past or live in the future. When he saw the wire to her neck he knew that he had to move on. Great job!!!...more info
  • *~* KEANU REEVES IS A BELIEVABLE KILLER IN THIS MOVIE *~*
    ...I think that having a person that didn't look like some psychotic freak was one of the best things about the movie! Keanu was charming yet creepy, sneeky, cunning, & quick. I think Keanu Reeves did a superb job, as did James Spader, & Marisa tomei. This is a VERY good movie, and had I listened to all of these... critcs, I would've never of watched the movie -- and I'd of missed out on a BELIEVEABLE MOVIE ABOUT A BELIEVABLE SERIAL KILLER......more info
  • Watch it!
    The Watcher is a movie that I surprisingly had high hopes for, even for the bad reviews, and the obvious miscast of Keanu Reeves. I was in the mood for a psychological thriller, and I got one. The Watcher was a good movie in many different aspects. The directing was superb. I have never heard of Joe Charbanic, let alone seen any of his movies. But I plan on checking some of his other movies out. He really knows how to mold and shape a film. The Cinematography was outstanding as well. Some of the scenery and camera angles left me in awe. The only hitch was the acting though. I thought everyone, especially James Spader, did an excellent job besides Keanu Reeves. Reeves is a good actor, don't get me wrong, it's just that this is not the role he is fit for. He didn't drag the movie down at all, but you had to think that maybe there are others actors out there that could have done the job more eloquently. Overall, The Watcher is a very entertaining movie that leaves you in shock at times. Don't base this movie on the reviews it got. Go watch it. 5 Stars...more info
  • Very Watchable
    Decent movie, but it is saved by Spader's great performance as burned-out FBI agent Joel Cambell, Reeves, does a horrible roll as Spader's rival David Allen Griffith.

    Spader is in one of his most amazing performances, I personally think he is very underrated, his role in this probably only rivaled by that in StarGate.

    Worth Watching on HBO, or renting, certainly not buying....more info

  • Worth Watching.
    As films go, this was badly rated a little too much. The story was good, even though it left a lot of loose ends (Griffin's origin etc) hanging at the end. It focused a lot on the present, only flashing back when it was really needed, letting the main characters do a lot of the work. The chase scenes were well done, there were times I was really glued to the screen watching them. As for the acting, I liked Spader's take on the cop who was a mess, and Reeves, who was cast against type and did a good job. It could have done with more extras then production notes and cast and crew bios, this I feel is where universal really let itself down, leaving us dvd lovers disappointed. It is good saturday night watching (excuse the pun), and worth buying, if only for the film....more info
  • A terrible movie
    This movie has got to be one of the worst films I have ever seen. Keanu Reeves wasn't even close to convincing and James Spader was just as weak. You can just as well skip this film. It's a waste of time....more info
  • this movie belongs on t.v. - not the big screen
    I'm glad I waited to rent this movie instead of going to the theatre. This movie was slow, too slow. The story line was ok, but not enough to keep you in suspense. This movie belongs on t.v.- not the big screen.....more info
  • Another Serial Killer Movie
    The Watcher probably would've been good if there wasn't "Seven", "Silence of the Lambs", "The Cell", or any other serial killer movie. It's basically the same thing we've been seeing in all the other movies. Even though this doesn't make it very good, it has that dark atmosphere that makes it like a creepy thriller. Overall this movie was mediocre, but it was OK. I'd recommend renting it before buying the DVD....more info
  • zzzzzzzzzz
    all style and no substance...an awful 90 minute cliche that is about 89 mins too long.

    keanu simply proves he cannot act...i had to turn the movie off when he started dancing

    there wasnt even any jugs in it.

    save your money....more info

  • absolutely one of the worst movies today
    imagine Keanu Reeves gave in by some friendly bagging and for a little extra buck working overnight, along with a bunch of less fortunate actors trying to get a movie deal with seemingly miscast roles, this film is really nothing but a very good example of how an unqualified movie is produced.

    with a black jacket, long hair and a constantly artificial, eerie look, Keanu Reeves is truly risking his favorite big screen images he created through the years. a piece of advice for Reeves, if you are not even close to the role you are going to portraited, doing nothing is better than doing it.

    on the other hand, not everything should be taken away for merely a bad taste. the story itself is far more interesting than what it has been made of. and the only cinematographic credit i might give is somehow the negative images from the killer's viewpoint when a victim is being pursued.

    other than these, some faults on detail are hardly mentionable, such as a victim's pictures are taken by a point-and-shoot camera but with a significant professional effect ------ sharpness and highly blurred background (that requires a large f-stop of 2.8 or even 1.4 which no point-and-shoot could ever produce) and amazingly impressive enlarges, also Spader is apparently a messed-up guy but dresses up quite an orderly business man when reassigned to catch the killer.

    after all, this movie is hardly qualified to be an unsuccessful effort....more info

  • READ THIS BEFORE YOU BUY
    when i first saw the trailer for this film i thought it looked pretty good, how wrong i was , it was sad to see James Spader playing such a flat and 2 dimensional role as the detective, and to top it all Keanu Reeves a villain , i think not, hes a good hero but thats his limits stick to what your good at. So it gets 2 stars because of the dismal storyline and the disappointing ending which seals the films fate....more info
  • Don't Buy this, wait to see it free on tv
    Bad, Boring and just plain dumb. I kept fast forwarding through most of it just to see how it would end....more info
  • Ok,but not the best
    Let me start this off by saying,Keanu Reeves is not good as a serial killer.He wasn't scary at all.He was way too friendly.I kept expecting him to say"Hey,how are you doing?I'm gonna kill you".Now I think he is a pretty good actor,but not in this movie. The plot was ok.There were a few scenes I didn't really like and should have been left on the cutting room floor.The main problem was,there was no character development at all.Ok,so all in all,rent this if there is absolutly nothing else to rent.This is one of those movies you see when nothing else is there....more info
  • Check Your Brain At The Door
    This movie supports the argument to rent before you buy. The premise sounded intriguing enough; James Spader is a burned out Los Angeles detective who had let serial killer Keanu Reeves slip through his fingers. Now, some time later and in Chicago, Spader begins to receive pictures of new potential victims that Keanu is "watching". This sets off a cat and mouse game of, "can Spader get to the girls in time before Keanu strangles them with piano wire"? Oh, one more thing: Marissa Tomei has the thankless role of playing Spader's therapist, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out she's gonna be the ultimate victim. Here's the thing; I love a good thriller, "Silence of the Lambs", "Copycat". This ain't one of them. It asks the viewer to leave all common sense at the door. When the city is alerted to the fact there's a serial killer loose, and they show a picture on the news of his targeted victim (who works in a shopping mall photo shop),no one happens to call. Excusing the fact there are cops who know what she looks like streaming through the mall. This bit of celluloid pulp makes the Chicago P.D. look like the biggest group of idiots going. Eventually Spader and Reeves have what's supposed to be their big standoff, but the director has Spader playing it so cool we never fear for him. There's no threat at all so consequently no tension. Frankly I've seen more nail biting episodes of "Murder She Wrote".There's also never any explanations of why Keanu is smitten with Spader. Just some quick speech about them being each other's "yin and yang". Yet no explanation of why he kills or why Spader.I guess we're supposed to think, "Serial killers don't need a reason, they just are." Look, I seldom review movies, but I had to warn people about this. It's been a long time since I've seen such a disappointing movie, and I'd hate for people to waste their money on such a offensively stupid flick....more info
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is the Climax
    I really hated this movie and it was a waste of 3 bucks to rent. Keeanu is just not a very good actor and he really can't do a serial killer...Nobody can do a role like Bill and Ted and then turn around and be a serial killer...He needs to find his niche and feed off of it...If Keanu keeps this up his career is going to go down the toilet like this movie did...more info
  • Keanu Reeves: Psychotic Dance Enthusiast...
    In THE WATCHER, James Spader is Joel Campbell, a traumatically stressed-out FBI agent in Los Angeles, mentally destroyed by the fiery death of his girlfriend. You see, not only was she burned to death, but it was partly Campbell's fault, at least in his own mind. He had left her behind in order to chase after the serial-killer who had abducted her, uaware that a fire had broken out. If only he'd untied her before leaving! The memory of this haunts Campbell for years, causing him to relocate to Chicago and sedate himself w/ drugs. Now, Campbell is in therapy (in the care of Marisa Tomei!!!!) and making little progress. Of course, things get much worse when David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves), the serial-killing nutbag from LA starts to miss Campbell and decides to track him down. Once in Chicago, Griffin begins locating, stalking, and murdering young women. He contacts Campbell, challenging him to a game of save-the-girl-before-I-kill-her. Campbell must snap out of his depressive nose-dive and get to work before Griffin kills again. I liked this movie quite a bit. Spader is excellent in his role as the shattered human being who must rise from the ashes of his own life. Reeves makes a decent maniac, driven by his need for Campbell's interest. As an added bonus, we get to see Reeves dance to Rob Zombie music (very scary stuff indeed)!... ...more info
  • Good old-fashioned piano wire.
    The Watcher starring James Spader and Keanu Reeves is a good thriller but the ending is pretty much a dead giveaway. Spader is absolutely brilliant in this and Reeves is a good actor, not sure why people give this guy such a hard time. Marissa Tomei and Ernie Hudson also star. This film lacks depth somewhat so that's why I give this film only three stars but it isn't a total waste of time either. Decide for yourself....more info
  • I'LL RIDE WITH DAVID ANYTIME!
    THIS MOVIE IS PERFECTION!KEANU REEVES DOES A PERFECT JOB AS DAVID ALLEN GRIFFIN!THE BEST PART IS WHEN THE CHASE IS ON,AND DAVID PUT HIS CAR ON FIRE-HE DRIVES IT WITH IT STILL BURNING!THIS MOVIE HAS SO MUCH ACTION,AND EXCITEMENT.IT'S ALSO SUSPENSEFUL....more info
  • KEANU REEVES
    KEANU REEVES DOES AN EXCELLENT JOB IN THIS MOVIE!HE HAS THE PERFECT LOOK AND ATTITUDE.THIS MOVIE'S FULL OF SUSPENSE,ACTION,AND EXCITEMENT.THIS IS THE BEST SERIAL KILLER MOVIE FROM 2000 TIL NOW,AND KEANU IS THE BEST ACTOR TO PLAY ONE!I LOVE HOW HE DROVE THE CAR,AND THEN HE PUT IT ON FIRE,AND HE STILL DRIVES!IF YOU LIKE SERIAL KILLER MOVIES-DEFINITELY GET THIS!I SEEN THIS MOVIE 4 TIMES AT THE THEATER,AND SO MANY TIMES HOME.THIS MOVIE IS EXCELLENT!...more info
  • Suspensful!!!
    I really liked this movie after watching it. It was very enjoyable for me and entertaining. I am a James Spader fan and do like all of his movies that he is in. I thought that it was a little twist on the murder mystery genre. I do recommend this movie to anyone that likes the murder mystery films....more info
  • Pyromaniac
    Not a bad movie,it's admireable to watch the all-for-one spirit of collaboration among the policemen.It's full of actions and thrills.A woman is burnt to death like in the 16th century.
    David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves) is not only a serial killer,but also a pyromaniac.An FBI agent Joel Campbell(James Spader) is appointed to capture the ruthless criminal. ...more info
  • Interesting to say the least.
    im not a kid im 19 but it wont let me write reviews with my account cause i havent bought anything. Anyway i watched this movie around the time it was first released on vidoeo and i thought it was the creepiest movie. I am watching this movie right now and its been 5 years at least since i have seen it. It seems not creepy now. Keanu is known for his overacting and mostly crappy movies. i hate the slow mo shots because u get beyond dizzy. ironically i still find keanu hot in this movie. must be the hair. lol. the acting is atrocious except on the part of james spader, who i have always liked since stargate. well n e way looks like m stuck making kids reviews so im leaving a name so u can maybe look up my other kid reviews.

    **DarkAlleyCat**...more info
  • Underrated and quite enjoyable little movie
    Despite the mixed reviews, I found myself enjoying this movie and since I didn't purchase it there was no disappointment on that level. Some movies make great rentals on a rainy Sunday and this was perfect as it kept me guessing to the outcome to the twisted and complex story about a serial killer and the detective on his back.

    James Spader (who was also great in Boston Legal, Secretary, Stargate, Wolf) did a great job portraying Joel Campbell, a retired detective who had moved on with his life after an enigmatic past that wakes him up in cold sweat and nightmares. He is clearly not over whatever happened to him back on the west coast and is trying to get his life back as he sees a shrink (Marisa Tomei) to help him out. His daily grind is un-interrupted by a murder that happens in his own building and when he finds a letter mailed to him, postmarked three days before the murder happened with the girls picture in it he is more than concerned. Spader recognizes the situation as the nightmare scenario that he escaped from as it trespasses on his turf and makes his life hell again. He knows that the mysterious man known as Griffin played by Keanu Reeves is obsessed with him and has tracked him down, sending him cards and pictures of his next victims. He gives Spader till 9pm each day to find the victim or he kills them; chocking from behind with piano wire leaving a trail of blood and pain behind.

    Campbell must find the potential victims and save them, as they are tied to the mystery why he retired and ran away. To find closure and peace he must salvage all his strength, clever tactics, his rather barbaric people skills and his fading mental capabilities to catch Griffin and to avenge a death close to his heart.

    I enjoyed the twists and turns and having seen failure and struggle instead of smooth sailing for the main character as he slips and falls but then gets up and fights back made it non-predictable and fun. ...more info
  • Passable thriller; good for Reeves or Spader fans
    "The Watcher" looks and sounds like a made-for-cable-TV thriller about a stalker/serial killer. I was surprised to learn that it got a theatrical release, which I think accounts for its many poor reviews. This isn't a terrible film by any means. Instead, it's a time killer that fans of either James Spader or Keanu Reeves will probably get a kick out of and there's some lovely location footage of Chicago to boot.

    Keanu Reeves plays a serial killer from James Spader's past. He tracks the former FBI agent down and starts killing young women again. This forces Spader to resume his career as an FBI agent; a decision that is fraught with drama because Spader is now burnt-out on police work and is virtually addicted to a variety of prescription drugs. There's nothing spectacularly intriguing or even novel about the film's premise or execution. But if you're a fan of Spader's TV work, you're going to like this one a lot, and it's fun to see Reeves play what is essentially an extended cameo cast against type. Marisa Tomei fans beware - the talented actress is almost totally wasted in a small, thankless role.

    Great cinema? Hardly. But as a Spader fan, I enjoyed this one as a rental and think you will too....more info
  • Watch The Watcher (3.5 Stars)
    The Watcher has been in in my video store's DVD collection since it was released on DVD. My video store was robbed once, and that one had been rented before the robbing hence the copy was still there. Ever since it was released I had been meaning to rent it. The cover always looked at me and made me want to see it. But I always found myself saying "Meh, I'll rent it next time". I finally got around to it yesterday and I popped it into my DVD player and realized "I have no clue what this movie is about".

    This movie is about a detective Joel Campbell who had been tracking a serial killer but never caught him. After several failures he decided to move to Chicago. The serial killer "missed" him in a sick and twisted way so he moved to Chicago as well to start his murders there. As he used to, he started sending pictures of his victims to Joel and that is where the fun begins.

    I found that Keanu Reevs made an excellent villain. He was perfectly believable as a pathetic, scum bag killer. James Spade also did a great job. But this movie was lacking something. I guess it was lacking a lot of suspence. It had its tense moments here and there but nothing that made you gasp or jump out of your seat. Also one (very minor) problem I had was the Mitch character. He seemed like he hated Joel so much but his hatred quickly disapeared. This movie was still intriguing enough and kept me entertained! Id' recommed watching the Watcher!...more info
  • mediocra action movie
    I thought that the names Keanu Reeves and James Spader sounded quite promising for this movie, but in fact it is just an average action movie with a storyline you saw many times before. Many effects, but it's not really catching....more info
  • Missed Opportunities
    You know when a movie boasts "and Keanu Reeves" you're in pretty big trouble.

    Sometimes I go with the general flow when I put down actors. For example, Adam Sandler doesn't really bother me. He was perfect for "Happy Gilmore" (which I think is a great mindless comedy). But Keanu Reeves is one actor that I, personally, have never considered a great--much less good--actor. In "Bill and Ted" and "The Matrix" he's fine, yes, because he fits the parts given to him (new generation slackers)."Speed" is one of my all-time favorite action films, but not really because of Reeves himself.

    The movies in which he is supposed to display true emotions--such as "Feeling Minnesota" or "A Walk in the Clouds"--are the ones that bother me, because I know that there are better actors putting on school plays who aren't getting paid--yet he's raking in the millions. Many of his dramatic roles are rather dry and laughable. When it comes to *real* roles, Keanu just fails miserably.

    I'll explain why, since I'll probably get angry letters from "Matrix" fans and teenage girls with posters of him on their walls if I don't. My main problem with Reeves is that he's always the same. His face is always the same. His tone of voice. His expressions. His mannerisms. For the sake of comparison, imagine Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man." Now imagine Keanu Reeves trying to play Raymond Babbitt. See what I mean?

    I've been observing Reeves since his days of "Bill and Ted," and my aunt adores him. I've been fed his movies for a long time. When I saw him in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," I thought he had talent. That he could really fit roles easily. Then I realized that he really WAS Ted, and that's when my expectations dropped.

    But I don't want to turn this into a Keanu Reeves hating fest. The point of all those paragraphs is just an explanation of why I'm not a big fan of Mr. Keanu "Whoa" Reeves, or his dramatic cinematic ventures. I say that he should stay close to what he's good at (dumb slackers). But that's just me.

    In "The Watcher," Keanu is a serial killer who toys around with an ex-FBI Agent (James Spader) whose lover Keanu killed years before in a fire. (Bad, Keanu, bad!) In fact, Joel Campbell (Spader) moved all the way to Chicago in order to escape his past, and even retired from the FBI.

    Now David (Reeves) is back in Joel's life, sending him pictures of victims a day before they are to be murdered. He has twenty-four hours to find them before David does.

    What a great premise. A pleasant twist on the serial killer routine, right? Err...no, not really. The direction feels like a long action-packed music video--from the opening titles blaring a loud Rob Zombie song to the end, complete with the stereotypical Killer's Point of View that was original in 1978 when John Carpenter's "Halloween" first invented it (and when it was indeed a very controversial filmmaking technique), but is now getting old since it's frequently being used incorrectly, particularly in the case of "The Watcher." Keanu's character seems to see things through some type of strobe music video vision--perhaps that explains his love of music in the film. "This is a good song," he says to one victim before strangling her.

    In all honesty, "The Watcher" isn't really a truly "bad" movie (in fact, I've seen much worse), but if I had to pinpoint the problems with "The Watcher," it would be these three things:

    1. Direction. Joe Charbanic, a first-time director with his outing in "The Watcher," proves that he should never get behind a camera ever again. As I mentioned before, there are just too many moments when I felt that I was watching some music video or product placement commercial instead of a smart serial killer film. Some people just aren't meant to get behind the wheel of a moving car. The same goes for a moving reel of footage.

    2. The Script. What starts interesting and even compelling soon turns into a routine chase-the-killer film with extravagant car chases and bad character introductions. (Marisa Tomei's student psychiatrist is obviously there for two reasons--to fall in love with the hero and to be kidnapped by the villain. Take a wild guess if it happens or not.) In fact, this film had loads of potential to stand out amongst the rest of its kind by using the original plot--twenty-four hours to find the victim--but it is soon left forgotten and too many plot holes (why wouldn't the victim see herself on TV or on one of the millions of ads placed around Chicago?) are left unchecked.

    3. The Acting. James Spader is at the very least marginally convincing as a gruff I-Don't-Care-Anymore cop, but he's no Martin Riggs. Instead, he comes off as a whiny, selfish little creep who likes to inject drugs into his body to get a momentary high. This is are hero, folks.

    Also, is Keanu an invincible boogeyman or not? Lord knows that his mysterious character, David, is untouchable--he survives a foot chase without being seen, he manages to sneak past security cameras and cops and manages to kidnap/kill female victims; he survives a truly ludicrous car chase (that lowered my score for the film by a half a notch), gets shot, caught on fire, and STILL manages to jump out of a window on fire and into a lake? I half expected him to get up once more and give us all one last scare. Honestly, in "Halloween," the insinuations of Michael Myers' invincibility were more than hinted at. Here, we are left to wonder whether or not the killer is some type of supernatural force or not. The film is too eager to wrap all the loose ends up without digging deeper into the material....more info

  • Reeves keeps this one alive
    Reeves makes this one work with his serial killer mood but Spader lets this one fall as the cop in search for him. and the movie runs out of steam after awhile but seeing Reeves with his piano wire and the finale is worth watching....more info
  • Quite okay
    FBI-Agent Campbell (James Spader) is obviously missed by a serial-killer (Keanu Reeves), who follows him from L.A. to Chicago to continue to play a deadly cat-and-mouse game with him. The killer manages to kill two more women, but when he kidnaps Campbell's psychiatrist Polly (Marisa Tomei) he gets into big trouble.
    "The Watcher" by Joe Charbanic is a quite good thriller with parallels from "Seven" and "The Bone Collector" (both are better though). The use of some camcorder pictures and video-clip editing adds some speed and atmosphere to the movie, but these things don't make the weak end better. Nevertheless "The Watcher" is worth a watch....more info
  • Utterly mediocre...
    I do wish I could say something positive about this film as I'm a fan of both James Spader and Marisa Tomei, but they're both wasted on this, honestly....more info
  • Average thriller
    This is your average thriller movie, and is worth watching once. I would not recommend purchasing it. Keanu Reeves is definitely the downfall of this movie. If you can look past the lousy acting from him as the psychopath who strangles young women with piano wire, you'll be satisfied after watching this. It was an okay movie with a definite flaw. Keanu is just not intimidating, and couldn't portray a person who would be. The Watcher was entertaining, and James Spader carried it well. It had some intense scenes, and an interesting plot which made it somewhat worthwhile. I certainly would not and will not add it to my DVD collection though. There wasn't really anything that stood out to me that was any different or more unique than any other thriller I've seen. It was average. I would not recommend that children see it though. Its R rating reflects violence (including some gruesome aftermaths of bloody killings) and continuous (and pointless) profanity. All in all, The Watcher was okay, and it is worth watching once if you can look past Keanu....more info
  • The Watcher Got Watched
    This movie was decent overall. It was capably acted, especially by Spader, whose ability to really breathe life into his characters shines through as usual. I could not help but feel sympathy for the hopelessly depressed and drugged central character. Marissa Tomei is also featured, acting well and looking very lovely without being sickeningly pretty, and coming off as both intelligent and caring in her part as psychologist to the battered protagonist. Three cheers for casting a competent and compelling actress in the lead female role. Keanu Reeves is satisfactorily creepy in his role as the killer (no spoilers, I promise, the viewer knows who the killer is from the beginning). The plot was a bit typical to the serial killer suspense genre, but nonetheless entertaining, and I did not lose interest at any point during the movie. Suspense was built up nicely and there was a pleasant element of continuity to the plot which made it quite easy to follow. There are a lot of flashbacks, which are a bit more drawn out than they need to be, but three more cheers for building up a background to this story. Technical aspects of the DVD were all satisfactory to me. In conclusion, this film was basically average but I give it four stars because when I ask myself, "Did I have a good time watching this movie?" my answer is, "Yes."...more info
  • You Like Scary Movies?
    If you like scary movies this is a must have to add to your collection to make it complete!...more info
  • Piano wire wouldn't leave you this breathless!
    Now this is what we need more of; pretty boy actors renowned for nice guy roles taking a walk off the beaten commercial path to explore darker subject matter.

    In Joe Charbanic's twisted little pressure cooker of a movie The Watcher, Keanu Reeves not only wandered into seriously more disturbing material, he took a tent with him, threw away the compass and camped comfortably in it, the results of which include a transformation that's as far away from Neo, his Matrix alter ego, as humanly possible. It's plausible that The Chosen One himself might have turned tail and fled if ever faced with Keanu's chillingly charismatic 'Watcher'(the killer of this piece), whether he knew Kung Fu or not.

    Publicly violated and torn apart frame by bloody frame by the critics upon release, The Watcher, ironically enough, should be thankful that the reviews were so scathing. All this highly inaccurate reviewing does is further serve to lower your guard for what becomes a truly tense and highly strung game of cat and mouse. Taking the classic story of nemesis and cop and training a television camera on it, Reeves portrays David Allen Griffin, a smartly dressed and suave individual with a penchant for strangling young single woman with piano wire. After feeling abandoned by the FBI agent Joel Campbell (played with praise-worthy restraint by the impeccable James Spader) who was assigned to his case and who Griffin has come to admire and, in a way, almost depend upon to give his vocation validity in the grand scheme of things, Griffin relocates to Chicago in order to pick up on their unique relationship afresh, news that awakens a buried dread within the distraught and regretful Campbell. It's only a matter of time before Griffin is, once again, rendering his piano unplayable, dragging Campbell once more into a nightmarish paranoid world where every second counts.

    Charbanic's tale presents the unfolding events from an original and distinctive perspective, one that lends itself admirably to the director's strengths. Namely, the media. With the superb inclusion of Griffin 'willing to try and make things work' between himself and Campbell by sending the agent photographs of the targeted victim and allowing the police twenty four hours to locate her, it serves as the perfect motive for the movie to truly tighten the tension screws which it succeeds in doing in excruciatingly spectacular fashion. The plot weaves tighter and tighter like Griffin's piano wire as by each murder, we witness Campbell's deterioration as the horrifying realisation that he may not be capable of saving the victims becomes an increasingly real sensation, a matter touched upon in a beautifully downplayed sombre moment between Campbell and his counsellor, played with admirable strength and vulnerability by Oscar winner Marisa Tomei.

    Add to this stew the wonderfully haunting score, the truly shocking yet undeniably sylish violence and decidedly unsettling cinematography and you begin to wonder why The Watcher was ever so persecuted in the first place. Ignore the critics and don't go home alone. Take The Watcher with you....more info

  • HORRIBLE!!!!!
    This had to be one of the worst films i have ever seen. I love spader, but why!!!???

    overacting, just plain dumb and unbelievable...

    in the first few seconds i felt embarrassed to be watching.

    rent it and you will see what i mean....more info

  • Better than expected...
    After reading the reviews here, I was not expecting much out of this movie but I was willing to give it a chance because of the great cast. The performances were terrific! It is Keanu at his creepiest and Spader was so vulnerable in his role. The suspense of the killers toying with his victims had us climbing the walls. We were all so tense watching this movie! If you are sensitive to graphic violence, don't even go there! This movie is not for family night. All in all it was a thrilling ride up to the end....more info
  • garbage
    this could possibly be one of the worst movies ever made. the trailer made this movie seem like a movie to see, but then when you watch it you just want to walk out..if you ever wanted to be a psychic for a day though, i highly reccomend that you buy or rent this movie,..it's that predictable. 1 star....more info
  • Disappointing...
    I'm not usually one to write a negative review about anything. However, sometimes there are things that are just irritating enough to prompt such a review.

    This particular movie is really a waste of talent. James Spader, Keanu Reeves and Marisa Tomei are almost mere props here. Very little character development, very little depth. It seemed as if they were going through the motions, much like a group of actors/actresses under a contract they can't get out of.

    The premise is decent enough but it is pretty much a stock formula psychological 'thriller'. It sounds as if it could have been good. But I kept waiting and waiting for some twist, for some rush, for something unique, but then the movie ended. I was left with a 'that's it?'...more info

  • Really Really Bad Movie
    All performances uninspired. Action sequences ridiculously unrealistic. In all a real snoozefest....more info
  • Keanu Reeves & James Spader
    What can I say... "Keanu Reeves" & "James Spader" = Success! I've just recently gotten into the KenauWave but I gotta tell you, just when I thought Point Break, Sweet November and The Devil's Advocate was about the best of all Keanu movies, low and behold I catch "The Watcher" earlier tonight on StarzE and its coming on again in minutes and I am going to watch it again! It's good. Get it - Watch it and see why Keanu Reeves is the super star he so deserve to be. And James Spader is one that Hollywood should stop ignoring. Give this guy more films, please! I rate this movie a 5 for the Actors, the great thrilling scenes. It had me on the edge of my sofa clutching the pillow!......more info
  • This watcher hardly bears watching
    The Watcher is one of those movies where you might find yourself thinking of what it might have been. The basis of a nifty little thriller is there, but in the hands of director Joe Charbanic, the story never flowers. There are all sorts of ultra chic film techniques and editing tricks. These are interesting enough to watch. They demonstrate that the visual arts still have some unchartered territory. In this case they also serve to emphasis the fact that the film is all style and no substance.

    FBI agent Joel Campbell [James Spader] moves from Los Angeles to Chicago after a shattering experience in which his girlfriend becomes a victim of the same serial killer Campbell has been looking for. The man is now a wreck. He takes pills for depression and anxiety and must often inject himself with a drug for his crippling migraine headaches. He is seeing a therapist named Polly [Marisa Tomei]. One day Joe comes home to find police swarming around the apartment below his. A girl has been murdered. After an agonizing night of nightmares and migraines, Joe gets around to opening his mail the next morning. There is a FedEx package which contains photos of his murdered neighbor. He realizes that the killer he pursed in L. A. has come to Chicago. And what comes next is a gruesome game in which the hunter becomes the hunted and is taunted in the same way the police sometimes do to a criminal at large. Joe receives more photos and has twenty-four hours in each case to save the victim.

    This truly could have been a taunt and suspenseful movie, if the director hadn't dropped the ball so often. Elements that start off interesting wind up going nowhere. For example, much is made by the therapist about how much Joe and the killer, David [Keanu Reeves], need each other, but no valid explanation of this codependency is ever offered. No reason is offered for David's doing the things he does nor is there anything about his character or mannerisms to hint at a motive.

    James Spader gives us a great performance, but because Keanu Reeves has to work at being creepy and Spader doesn't, it might have been better if they had traded roles. I have always enjoyed Reeves's taking roles that are a stretch or a risk for him, but I have decided that he is successful commercially and artistically only in action hero epics like Speed and The Matrix. Tomei's role is small and is important only as a plot device. She deserves better....more info

  • Okay.
    I watched this movie and it was okay.The plot needed a little work but its okay.Keanu Reeves does a good job playing the killer that stalks these women.I recommend that you see this movie,but don't think this movie will have the best plot in the world,but this is a decent movie....more info
  • This movie sucked.
    This entire movie [was really bad].The script is boring,and the cast
    gave really bad performances.Don't watch this movie....more info
  • Whoa!
    I started watching this film and thought ok. This is shaping up to be an ok Thriller. Then the director said " LET'S BLOW THINGS UP. FORGET PLOT, ACTING AND SUSPENSE. THE AUDIENCE IS TOO STUPID TO NOTICE THESE THINGS ANYWAY. JUST GIVE THEM EXPLOSIONS!"

    Very sad. It could have been so much more, it looked to be so much more and then it just lost the plot. It was quite gripping until the explosions started. The ending is poor and lacks suspense, but it does have some big explosions. Maybe one day they will do some Thrillers with some real bite and edge to them. Give it a miss....more info

  • Should be 1/2 a star...
    Let me preface this by saying that I am glad I only rented this. I'm only out 3.95.

    As much as I tried, I could not bring myself to like this movie.
    It tried to be a game of cat-and-mouse. It tried to be full of suspense. It failed on both counts. The acting...atrocious. Though Keanu may not be the best actor on earth, at least he tries. Not here. I remember reading somewhere that he only did it so that he would not get sued. Feels like it. James Spader...well. Marisa Tomei...no comment.

    An all-around horrendous movie. Recommended only for the masochistic among us....more info