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Watching the Detectives

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Neil (Cillian Murphy) works in a vintage video store and wishes his life could be as exciting as the movies he watches night and day. Enter Violet (Lucy Liu), a real-life femme fatale who brings enough adventure into Neil's world to make him think he has suddenly stepped into one of his favorite movies. Being with Violet might just turn out to be a lot of fun - if he lives through it.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Cillian Murphy, Lucy Liu, Josh Pais, Mark Harelik, Heather Burns
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Peace Arch/Genius
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018PH3KQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,597 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By C. Donato on August 21, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I understand why this film was never widely distributed. How it made it into production is amazing to begin with, not to mention attracting such talents as Murphy, Liu, and Burns.

The beginning hooks you like an old Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn flick, but it doesn't reel you in. We get much more background on Neil than we ever do on Violet and this is very unsatisfying. Their interchanges are more interesting than enlightening and do little to reveal much about what's really going on inside the "bored", albeit whacko, lead chick's brain.

Murphy gives a great performance as a small-time video store owner (Neil) engrossed in classic flicks, but we never see the "inside" of Violet (Liu), a real-life femme fatale who wanders into his store one day. And we don't know if Neil ever sees the inside of Violet.

Many scenes drag, do not move the characters along, or are not really pertinent to the plot. Character arcs are virtually nonexistent. If you see the movie once and try telling the story to someone, you'll find it difficult to do so.

Bottom line - this could have been a really good movie. If Violet had, in fact, been a detective or an FBI agent and Neil had somehow become involved in her mission, we're talking future classic here. We're talking Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Bays on January 11, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie was purely entertaining. If you are looking at for a film for quality this is not the one; but if you are looking at a movie to cheer you up I suggest it. It was really cute and funny; and Cillian Murphy was quite good looking in the flick.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wesley M. Virgil on December 28, 2008
Format: DVD
This movie is hilarious beyond belief. Staying up late and catching it on Showtime at 6:30 in the morning was like finding a diamond in the rough. This movie lacks major character development more like a television show that you should have been watching for a few weeks and then got a 2 hour finale special. You never really get any character insight you never fully get to know who NEIL is (CILLIAN MURPHY BATMAN BEGINS SCARECROW) or the even more mysterious Violet (LUCY LIU CHARLIE'S ANGEL'S). Half the movie is spent with Neil half the movie is spent with Neil trying to get Violet's phone number& figuring out where she lives. Neil is quite the classic movie buff and hates the big time establishment "MEGA VIDEO" (something like blockbuster) for their lack of love and knowledge of movies they own. He has his own set of nerdy movie friends who bicker over different movie topics, whereas Violet is a very bizarre and spontaneous character who comes and goes her friends like herself are very kooky and random but play minor various roles throughout the movie. She meets Neil and tries to get him to portray the characters he watches in movies rather than just talk about them this leads Neil on an adventurous life risking few days or weeks. The movie loses you in confusion numerous times, amazingly and surprisingly funny if you want a change of pace, just bored out of your mind or you want to see Lucy Liu and Cillian Murphy out of their normal character watch it. It won't disappoint if you fall under those 3 categories. My rating 3.5 out of 5 stars. IT HAS POTENTIAL.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on May 20, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Loved "Watching the Detectives!" Quirky romance! Lucy Liu's character is a hoot in the ways she goes about to test Cillian Murphy's character to see whether he is a good guy or not and whether she should invest time in him. Cilliam Murphy rocks as usual -- a most versatile and amazing actor. See the film, have a laugh.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine Richardson on May 3, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You cannot judge a book by its cover. I was not expecting much out of this movie but I was really surprised to find Murphy has a real talent for comedy. I laughed throughtout the whole movie. I thought the script was smart and very funny, and the performances were fresh and unexpected.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on December 25, 2009
Format: DVD
Lead actors Cillian Murphy and Lucy Liu carry "Watching the Detectives," which probably started as a screwball comedy but ended up morphing into something more akin to slice of life or fantasy. Murphy is a video store owner hopelessly tied to vintage film and a group of losers that pose as his friends and hangers on at the store. Liu, an unconventional beauty, comes to the store one day and, upon entering his life, changes everything about it.

This runs about 90 minutes but never varies far from its beginning with the sexy Liu consistently surprising, and often turning inside out, her male counterpart with her twists, turns and tricks. She specializes in surprise attacks, you might say, where the otherwise straight arrow Murphy consistently falls for the gags. It's some fun while it's going on, maybe even more than some, but it doesn't wear well. I could hardly remember a thing about the film two days later than what I've said in these two paragraphs.

Still, the strong leads by the principals lift this above the ordinary. Good production values and occasional flamboyant art direction helps too. This is an offeat story about a couple that goes places most film don't and is unpredicatable all the way. I watched this the same night I saw a big budget, star-studded Hollywood extravaganza where I knew everything that was going to happen 10 minutes after it started. Ninety minutes after "Watching the Detectives" started, I couldn't say that about this one.
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Does Cillian use his Irish accent?
Murphy's real accent is sweet, but he doesn't use it in this movie. He plays an American.
May 10, 2011 by Louisa the Lemming |  See all 4 posts
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