Combustible Celluloid
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With: Owen Wilson, Brian Cox, Mercedes Ruehl, Janeane Garofalo, Dwight Yoakam, Dennis Haysbert, Sheryl Crow
Written by: Hampton Fancher, based on a novel by Lew McCreary
Directed by: Hampton Fancher
MPAA Rating: R for language and a scene of drug use
Running Time: 111
Date: 03/19/2013

The Minus Man (1999)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Fatal Subtraction

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I can safely say that I've never seen a movie quite like The Minus Man before, but that may not necessarily be a good thing. It's a movie about a serial killer, but not a movie like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990) or The Silence of the Lambs (1991) or I Stand Alone (1999). The Minus Man's disarming plot concerns a blonde, friendly, and charming killer, Vann (Owen Wilson), who meets up with a drifter named Casper (Sheryl Crow) on the road. With a little assistance from Vann she dies after shooting up. After dumping her at a rest stop he arrives in a small town. He takes a room in a private home owned by Mercedes Ruehl and Brian Cox where he continues his "alternative" lifestyle. And from time to time two detectives appear in Vann's imagination to talk with him about his murders.

The Minus Man is written and directed by Hampton Fancher, who wrote 1989's The Mighty Quinn, but will always be known for co-writing Blade Runner (1982). There doesn't seem to be many clues connecting these two early movies with The Minus Man.

The movie hangs its entire weight on Vann's charm. And we do like him. But the events of the movie seem vague and unconnected, and we're left feeling empty and confused.

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