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The Minus Man

70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"I've never done anything violent to anyone," says the mild-mannered Vann Siegert, "Just the minimum that was necessary." Indeed, if you have to get knocked off by a serial killer, Vann (Owen Wilson) is definitely your man. Just a quick, sweet swig from a silver flask of poisoned amaretto and you're out, with a narcoleptic slump into eternal slumber. There's no taunting or torturing; he's friendly about the whole thing. You can see Vann almost--almost--wishing his victims wouldn't take that final sip. He doesn't hold any particular grudge against these people; rather, as he puts it, "I take the natural momentum of a person and draw it toward me." If someone looks like they're on a crash course--like the boozy, asthmatic heroin addict played convincingly by Sheryl Crow, her acting debut--he merely accelerates the process.

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

Special Features

  • Serial Killer Biographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Owen Wilson, Sheryl Crow, Dwight Yoakam, Dennis Haysbert, Alex Warren
  • Directors: Hampton Fancher
  • Writers: Hampton Fancher, Lew McCreary
  • Producers: David L. Bushell, Fida Attieh, Joseph J. DiMartino, Keith Abell, Larry Meistrich
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305770182
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,814 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Minus Man" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Danny W. Shelby II on April 23, 2000
Format: DVD
The movie follows a serial killer, Vann (Owen Wilson) , into a small town to start a new life. Before he gets there he meets "Laurie" (Sheryl Crow), a dead beat drug user. When Vann arrives in the small town, some locals begin to disappear. No one really knows who or what is doing it. Vann has a job as a postman and becomes friends with Janeane Garofalo's character and the story unfolds from there. Janeane Garofalo has been in some not-so-great movies as of late, but this was one that was sadly over looked. Sheryl Crow's first acting roll is a must see. She pulls it off well. This is the first time I've seen Owen Wilson, and now I think I'll go look him up on Amazon to see what else he is in. All three actor's performances are wonderful and the movie is told in a not-so-traditional manner, making for a great film. DVD extras include: Serial Killer biographies, Theatrical and video trailers, production notes, cast & creww information, and more.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Hormann on July 29, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I must say that I had no idea what this movie would be like but found myself pleasantly surprised by both the story and the central perfomances.
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.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Christelle N. on February 18, 2000
Format: DVD
This film lived up to all of my expectations. I'd seen the ad campaign and heard reviews from friends saying it was an intense film, and after watching it, I had to agree! I thought it was a terrific adaptation from the book, and I was as much disturbed as I was pleased. I love to have my ideas of normalcy challenged! Owen Wilson played the part really well- toned down and kind on the outside... Garofalo played a smitten, sensitive woman for the first time I've seen, and was perfect in her role! All the acting in this movie is great, but I was most surprised by Sheryl Crow's performance. She was totally in character and a lot of fun to watch.
I had to own this movie- I found that it translated great on DVD in widescreen.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MZ on February 6, 2004
Format: DVD
Owen Wilson is fantastic in this movie, which I had never heard of until I came across it at the video store. It is not the best movie I have ever seen, but it is a very good flick, and I have to wonder why it was not highly promoted.
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.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on June 25, 2003
Format: DVD
Vann Seigert (Owen Wilson) has a little joke he shares with his friends: "I was lying in the grass one time and this spider came along and crawled in my ear. It came out again and you know what it said?" "What" "Nobody home." (big smile)
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.
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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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