The Minus Man
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Wilson proves to be a mesmerizing if unlikely serial killer, his flat, Midwestern delivery ringing more sincere than sinister, more Charlie Brown than Charles Manson. His voiceovers purportedly allow us into the mind of a killer, but what we hear isn't all that different from what we see. Vann isn't faking the nice-guy veneer, he is a nice guy, with this one little quirk. Clearly, this is not your typical edge-of-your-seat thriller, but the slow, dreamy pace is nonetheless entrancing. There are moments of intense grace and humor here, too. Janeane Garofalo breaks away from the smart-aleck mold to portray a postal employee smitten with Vann, and Mercedes Ruehl takes a compelling turn as his troubled landlady. "I like the detail of a thing," Vann says. "Especially if it's got a purpose." While we may not know for certain whether this film has a purpose, the details dare you to stop watching, even for an instant. --Brangien Davis
- Serial Killer Biographies
Top Customer Reviews
A young drifter by the name of Vann Siegert wanders into a small coastal town and slowly people in the town begin to disappear - it's no plot spoiler to say that Vann is the man causing these disappearances - we do see the movie through his eyes. He possesses a disarming charm and kindness that people feel they can trust him, most notably his landlord Doug followed by his wife Jane and his co-worker at the Post Office, Ferrin. Slowly things begin to change and tension builds as Vann ensures that his cover is not blown.
While this probably doesn't sound too different from your average serial killer yarn, it is made more believable by spot on performances. Owen Wilson is a revelation as the drifter Vann, with the charm of a Tom Ripley, his drawling voice and easy smile, not once suggesting a killer behind it. Brian Cox and Mercedes Ruehl are both excellent as Vann's landlords, with Ruehl just topping Cox with a lovely understated performance not overshadowed by Cox's occasional histrionics. Finally, rounding out the main cast is Janene Garofolo, as Ferrin, and she nails her role as the co-worker who hopes for romance perfectly.
The distraction of Vann's hallucinations don't work that well but this is a minor discrepancy in an otherwise excellent film. With his work on this movie and scene-stealing turns in such movies as the otherwise awful "The Haunting", and "Meet the Parents", Wilson certainly shows he is capable of much more.
I had to own this movie- I found that it translated great on DVD in widescreen.
Other people that made the movie more interesting: Janeane Garofalo, Dwight Yoakam, and Sheryl Crow. The singers didn't sing, and the comedienne didn't crack jokes. And yet they didn't need to, because the acting was great all around.
The only part of this movie that I wouldn't have understood had it not been written on the back of the box was the two imaginary cops who showed up all the time. But unlike Mulholland Drive, this movie was not confusing on the whole. On the contrary, it gave me something to think about.
That lame joke sums up Wilson's character: banal, empty, a cipher, a void, a nil, a negative number, "a minus man." So what is it about this character, who is in every scene in the movie, that makes him so intriguingly watchable? It is the creepy acknowledgment that it is just such a nondescript, seemingly harmless, even likeable person who can contain such a world of evil within. "Don't judge a book by its cover." "Still waters run deep." The movie also investigates the theme of "the banality of evil," a topic that gained credence after the Nuremburg trials. Seemingly average people, with relatively benign upbringing and background, who are nevertheless capable of the most inhumane acts and who go about performing their atrocities in the most calm and matter-of-fact manner.
Van Siegert is indeed the Angel of Death. His acts are more often than not entirely random. There is no prerequisite as far as the selection precess goes. If you happen to cross his path at a particular matrix in time, you will be amongst the chosen. Captain of the football team, heroin addict, a complete stranger in a diner. It could be you.
Owen Wilson, with his boyish, broken nosed surfer looks and his goofy smile, is the perfect vehicle for this unforgettable character. The rest of the cast is splendid, but Brian Cox (the Albert Finney look-alike) is particularly adroit at pulling off a bravura turn as the manic-depressive head of the Durwin household that welcomes Siegert into their fold.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quite an unusual film, Minus Man is that rare thriller that seems to boast a new idea - unfortunately, I feel like a review would include plot details and this is SO low-key that... Read morePublished 6 months ago by D. Weinstein
Another one of those independent dark comedies. You really have to have the taste and intellect to enjoy, but everyone I've recommended this film to has enjoyed it as much as I... Read morePublished 6 months ago by sliphopper
This movie arrived rattling around in the case with pieces of plasticPublished 13 months ago by Shasta Kreisman
A confusing movie about a killer that thinks there a two cops following him,if you like movies that leave you hanging this ones for you. Read morePublished on January 23, 2014 by robert
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Comparison with 2001 DVD release||
I'm wondering the same thing. After researching it all morning, all I can say is they both seem to be 111 minutes, anamorphic widescreen, and they both have the same special features (serial killer bios, trailer, production notes). Conclusion: same dvd, different packaging?
Jan 6, 2012 by myxoplik | See all 2 posts
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