Minus a plus
Guest Review by Mike Flores
It has been some time since we’ve had a really good serial killer movie. The success of the Scream series revived the slasher genre, but serial killer films aren’t roller coaster rides. From Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer to The Boston Strangler, the best films in the genre leave you with an overall sense of unease and discomfort. And that’s if the filmmakers have done their job. The Minus Man achieves that effect, but from a completely new and creative angle.
Owen Wilson (The Haunting, Armageddon, Anaconda) plays Vann Siegert, a drifter who appears to be the nicest guy you’d ever meet. And the people that meet him immediately place their lives and thoughts into his hands. This would be fine if Vann wasn’t a serial killer, poisoning his trusting victims and watching them die.The Minus Man is actually a pleasant film, evoking memories of the best scenes of David Lynch at times, and it isn’t until you realize that this is the first feel-good serial killer film you have ever seen that you will feel the unease.
Owen Wilson does a terrific job as the killer with a seeming heart of gold, and although I was unfamiliar with his work before, I will watch for him now on. (He is set to appear in Jackie Chan’s Shanghai Noon). P-fave Mercedes Ruehl (her film debut was the inner-city cult classic The Warriors) appears as a woman with a stern side married to Brian Cox (The Corruptor, Year of the Sex Olympics), a masochistic bottom to her top. Sheryl Crow does a terrific performance as a drunken junkie. Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade) removes his hat and becomes a cop in Vann’s imagination chasing him through his mind. While all this sounds strange and bizarre, remember that The Minus Man works because all this is presented normally, albeit through the mind of a killer. The real surprise here for me is Janeane Garofalo (Mystery Men). Her role is to pass complex emotions to Vann, emotions ranging from a smile to affection and need, and she does so. I am used to her schtick as a New-York-Trendie, but I was truly enchanted by her performance here.
Written and directed by Hampton Fancher (former actor, Blade Runner coauthor/producer),The Minus Man is a film you should search out and see.