This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-03-06.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> September 2000 >> The Watcher
There's an element of mystery to The Watcher, but not in the plot. I want to know from whose fevered mind the dreadful amalgam of cinematographic excess emerged. I got sick of the black and white negatives and the flashes of white very, very quickly. I overdosed on the motion-blur, slo-mo, large-grain look of Annoy-O-Cam in no time. Who would do such a thing? Worse, would he think he was demonstrating an innovative visual style? Could it be cinematographer Michael Chapman? He's been behind the camera for some true classics, but he also directed Clan of the Cave Bear. No, he'd probably know better for most of it. Perhaps it was the editor, Richard Nord. Those flashes and negatives almost certainly occurred in the editing room. Maybe it was first-time director Joe Charbanic, whose name I won't feel compelled to see on a movie again.
Whoever the perpetrator, the visual mix drives a wedge between the storytelling and the audience that constantly screams "This is a movie!" This is fine when the movie has already given us a reason for looking strange, but not here. Did I complain about the Bullet Time and slo-mo in The Matrix? Of course not! The style was in service of the plot. Here, the style is used in place of a plot and developed characters.
And while we're at it, what about the music? The background track under one of the therapy sessions kept drawing me out of the story and into a device. I have a vague memory of being impressed by Marco Beltrami's score for Scream. Whatever original work he did here is painfully overwrought and unnecessary.
I will give The Watcher credit on a few points. Marisa Tomei's character is not, strictly speaking, a love interest. Keanu Reeves is not made to look like a total dumbass for most of the movie. Best of all, the movie clocks in at a scant ninety-three minutes long.