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Suspect Zero (2004)

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A mysterious serial killer is hunting other serial killers, and one F.B.I. Agent suspects there may be more to the vigilante than they imagine.

Director:

E. Elias Merhige

Writers:

Zak Penn (story), Zak Penn (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aaron Eckhart ... Thomas Mackelway
Ben Kingsley ... Benjamin O'Ryan
Carrie-Anne Moss ... Fran Kulok
Harry Lennix ... Rich Charleton
Kevin Chamberlin ... Harold Speck
Julian Reyes Julian Reyes ... Highway Patrolman
Keith Campbell ... Raymond Starkey
Chloe Russell ... Loretta
Ellen Blake Ellen Blake ... Dolly
William B. Johnson William B. Johnson ... Mel
Jerry Gardner Jerry Gardner ... Sheriff Harry Dylan
Daniel Patrick Moriarty Daniel Patrick Moriarty ... Bud Granger
Curtis Plagge Curtis Plagge ... Jumbo
Nicole DeHuff ... Katie Potter
William Mapother ... Bill Grieves
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Storyline

When Dallas FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway violates serial killer Raymond Starkey's civil rights during an unorthodox arrest, Starkey goes free and Mackelway is demoted to a remote branch of the agency in Albuquerque. His first day on the job, Mackelway investigates the murder of traveling salesman Harold Speck, which turns out to be the first of three seemingly random killings. Perhaps they are not random at all. The last to die is Mackelway's nemesis, Raymond Starkey. The assignment consumes him, his past mistakes haunt him, and his head throbs constantly as he tries to find the link between the victims that will lead him to their killer while the case becomes increasingly gruesome and patently personal. This does not go unnoticed by his unflappable partner Fran Kulok, who knows of Mackelway's past and the demons that afflict him. Like Mackelway, she becomes drawn into the labyrinth of chilling clues, all of which point to the enigmatic Benjamin O'Ryan. O'Ryan clearly has a connection ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

To catch a serial killer, think what he thinks, see what he sees. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content, language and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 August 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neitariamasis See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,446,375, 29 August 2004

Gross USA:

$8,725,813

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,416,075
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original 1995 draft by Zak Penn circulated around Hollywood for seven years before finally being made. After several drafts were rejected, the original draft, with several revisions by Billy Ray, was used for shooting. See more »

Goofs

As Agent Mackelway follows the patient that asked him about the 50-foot fish, he, Mackelway, puts some paper into his left jacket pocket. When the shot changes, he's holding the paper in his right hand. At the next shot, the paper is gone. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Mackelway: Where's the boy?
Benjamin O'Ryan: My, my! Must be extremely satisfying to hear yourself say something so heroic! I'm almost envious. The boy's in pieces under the bed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Paramount logo is brown (to resemble the desert) and the water in the Intermedia logo is black. See more »

Connections

Featured in What We See When We Close Our Eyes (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

What a Dream It's Been
(1999)
Written by Robert Williams
Performed by Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys
Courtesy of Hightone Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The kind of film that might have you stay awake when viewed on HBO at 2:30 in the morning
17 September 2004 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Suspect Zero, a new mystery/horror/thriller/detective-FBI film, tries to make a lot of twists and turns in telling a story that is perhaps all-too-simple at the core. While the acting is fair by the leads (Kingsley, as a man who may or may not be the suspect, plays a tortured soul better than anyone I can think of; Eckhardt and Moss are credible if maybe mis-matched), the script is something of a turn-off. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense, despite a cameo from Robert Towne (uncredited on this site) as a professor who tries to give a little explaining to the FBI agent played by Eckhardt. It's not that the idea of it isn't bad, but it doesn't engage a viewer in a way other thrillers can.

What the film has going for it is the direction. This is E. Elias Merhige's third film after his impenetrable art-house film Begotten (arguably one of the most pretentious, deranged, if unique debuts of the 90's) and small success Shadow of a Vampire (a film that gave Malkovich and Dafoe excellent screen time as silent film icons). The style is more than flamboyant- it's madness. Merhige tries his best to get inside the atmosphere that this killer and it's tracker(s) are in, and he succeeds by almost trying too hard. It reminded me of a kind of avant-garde approach to directing one of those HBO thrillers you might catch late at night. While he doesn't do a job as memorable as 'Shadow', and outside of Kingsley and maybe Eckhardt doesn't elicit very good acting, him and Michael (Raging Bull/Taxi Driver) Chapman bring out a technical aspect with tints and angles and shots that aren't too diverting.

It's the kind of film that misses the mark of great, twisted, FBI-serial killer murder mysteries, and I would not seek it out to rent, but it didn't leave too sour of a taste in my mouth, and I didn't want to walk out of it midway either. It's average fare that could've been better, could've been a lot worse. (strong) C


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