Film Flame


Imagine a non-violent serial killer movie, and you're warming to the mildly interesting The Minus Man.  Hampton Fancher (writer of Blade Runner) dropped his late blooming directing debut on Sundance with a whisper.  Starring Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket), Dennis Haysbert (Love Field), Eric Mabius (Lawn Dogs) and singers Sheryl Crow and Dwight Yoakam, The Minus Man misses crucial beats, and instead meanders -- grabbing, then dropping your attention like a cheap date. 

Wilson plays a passive Pacific Northwest serial killer (his method involves poisoning) who tries to settle into normalcy in a small town.  "I feel normal now," he says after finding a room and a job.  We see him befriend his new landlords (Brian Cox and Mercedes Ruehl), his employer at -- OOPS -- the post office, and even win the heart of his puppy doggish co-worker played by Janeane Garafolo. 

Promoted to mail carrier, Wilson "picks up clues about the lives inside"  by the smells outside.  Getting familiar with the town at large, he breaks one of his cardinal rules.  He begins poisoning people he knows.  Putting Sheryl Crow as a junkie out of her misery earlier in the film wasn't enough to sate his urge -- "The urge that erases the path that's traveled. 

In a humorous scene, like a dope fiend who will help you try and find the drugs he just stole from you, Wilson  goes on a search posse for one of his victims with the townspeople he prays with on Sunday.  He says, "I look so hard, I forget there's nothing to find."  If you don't look too hard for deep meaning in this one, composer Marco Beltrami's melancholy score might move you to the film's rather satisfying conclusion. 

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