Notable as the directorial debut of Blade Runner co-scripter Hampton Fancher, this darkly comic thriller stars affable Owen Wilson as Vann Siegert, a different brand of serial killer: one who actually believes he's doing his deeply depressed victims a service of mercy. Wandering up the West Coast, Vann chooses victims from a parade of colorful ...
Notable as the directorial debut of Blade Runner co-scripter Hampton Fancher, this darkly comic thriller stars affable Owen Wilson as Vann Siegert, a different brand of serial killer: one who actually believes he's doing his deeply depressed victims a service of mercy. Wandering up the West Coast, Vann chooses victims from a parade of colorful social misfits -- including a haggard junkie (singer Sheryl Crow) whose pain he ends with a nip from his flask of poison amaretto -- and expounds on his motives with a pocket tape recorder (a drawling monologue that serves as the film's narrative voice-over). A brief layover in Owensville eventually finds Vann in the company of quarreling middle-aged couple Doug and Jane (Brian Cox and Mercedes Ruehl), who grow fond of the young drifter's amiable demeanor and take him on as a boarder. After landing a job at the local post office, Vann catches the eye of co-worker Ferrin (Janeane Garofalo), and a tentative romance blossoms -- but even love can't distract Vann from his crusade to terminate people's unhappiness: "They come to me like moths, because I shine," he explains. Though not the complex psychological game it purports to be, The Minus Man is an intriguing character study -- imagine a kindler, gentler version of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer -- with some clever twists and fine performances, including a touching portrayal from the usually acerbic Garofalo. Geared more to the art-movie crowd than to fans of Hitchcockian thrills, this film opened to raves at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Cavett Binion, Rovi
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Owen Wilson portrays a bland, delusional serial poisoner who randomly eliminates people in a small town secretively while suspicious of being caught. Developing a relation with Janeane Garofalo at work while babbling on fate, this dull film boils down to nothing but chatter and never isolates itself as either comedy, horror, or even drama as it can never focus itself to a proper genre. Whether you see it as commentary to secretive evils or percepts of choice- if you need a cure to insomnia, please rent and discard this movie.