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The Bone Collector

The Bone Collector
File:Bone collector poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Produced by Martin Bregman
Michael Bregman
Louis A. Stroller
Written by Jeremy Iacone
Based on The Bone Collector 
by Jeffery Deaver
Starring Denzel Washington
Angelina Jolie
Queen Latifah
Michael Rooker
Mike McGlone
Luis Guzman
Leland Orser
Ed O'Neill
Music by Craig Armstrong
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by William Hoy
Distributed by Universal Pictures (United States)
Columbia Pictures (Worldwide)
Release dates
  • November 5, 1999 (1999-11-05)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $73 million
Box office $151,493,655

The Bone Collector is a 1999 psychological thriller film starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, directed by Phillip Noyce and produced by Martin Bregman.

The movie was based on the crime novel of the same name written by Jeffery Deaver, concerning the quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme. It was the first book of the Lincoln Rhyme series.

The film takes place in New York City in 1999.


The film begins in late 1999. Tetraplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) and a patrol cop, Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie), team up to solve a string of murders all connected to a serial killer by his signature: a single shard of bone is removed from each of the victims. Rhyme was paralyzed from the neck down in an earlier accident and is bed-bound and completely reliant on machines and his nurse Thelma (Queen Latifah) to function. He communicates with Amelia via headset as she examines the various crime scenes and collects evidence and reports back to him.

The killer poses as a New York taxi driver, and abducts and kills those who get in his taxi. The first two victims are a married couple named Alan and Lindsay Rubin, who take a taxi home but then find themselves kidnapped by the killer. Amelia finds Alan's body buried in a Civil War-era railroad bed. She also finds a collection of clues including a pile of piece-ground oyster shells, which eventually leads Amelia - now working with Rhyme - to Alan's wife, and a scrap of paper. The detectives find Mrs. Rubin, too late, at a steam junction in a below-ground services area of a building in the financial district, secured using old antique handcuffs or shackles at the mouth of a pipe which emits steam. She has been scalded to death from the steam. The killer has also removed a bit of flesh and bone from her arm. Amelia finds another scrap of paper at the scene.

The killer then abducts an NYU student. He is taken to a derelict slaughterhouse where he is tied to a pole and part of his thigh bone is surgically removed, and left for rats to feed on. Amelia and Rhyme, using the clues left by the killer at the scene of Lindsay Rubin's death (rat hairs embedded in a bone from a cow's body), find the victim, but again too late to save him. Again, the killer has removed a piece of the victim's bone. Amelia is able to collect the evidence, including another scrap of paper. The pressure of the tense investigation and bureaucratic challenges to both Amelia's and Rhyme's involvement with the case are having serious impacts on Rhyme's health and stability.

After piecing together the message the killer was sending using the scraps of paper, Amelia and Rhyme are led to an old crime novel, whose crimes the killer was replicating. This leads them to his next victims, a grandfather and granddaughter tied to a pier as the tide rises. The girl is the first victim they manage to save, but her grandfather dies. At the scene, Amelia finds another bone, part of an old police badge, and an old subway map. These clues, and an earlier clue left by the killer at the scene of Mrs. Rubin's death (asbestos) lead Amelia to an abandoned subway station, in which Amelia sees some numbers which have been tampered with to spell out Rhyme's police badge number. Amelia then figures out that the killer is after Rhyme.

The killer arrives at Rhyme's house, and after killing Rhyme's nurse, Thelma, and Captain Howard Cheney (Michael Rooker), it is revealed that he is the medical technician who cares for Rhyme's medical equipment, Richard Thompson (Leland Orser). Richard's real name is Marcus Andrews. An ex-forensic cop whom Rhyme's testimony helped convict of planting false evidence at crime scenes, Marcus intends to exact his revenge. Rhyme manages to crush Marcus's right hand by suddenly dropping his bed horizontal, and in the struggle to free himself, Marcus pulls Rhyme with him and they both collapse to the floor. Rhyme then manages to bite Marcus in the neck, causing massive bleeding. Marcus once again manages to free himself, grabbing his knife. As Marcus raises the knife for a killing blow, Amelia suddenly arrives at the apartment and shoots Marcus who falls down dead.

The film ends at a Christmas celebration at Rhyme's apartment. Rhyme, having given up his plans to commit suicide, faces his sister and niece coming to visit him along with Amelia and his other colleagues on Christmas Eve. It is implied that Rhyme and Amelia have a relationship.



Exterior scenes were filmed in New York City. Interior scenes were shot in Toronto.[1][not in citation given]


Critical reception

Based on 85 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, The Bone Collector has an average approval rating of 28 percent, with an average score of 4.2/10.[2] By comparison, Metacritic gave the film an average score of 45 based on the 33 reviews that it collected.[3]

Eric S. Arnold of Newsweek gives a mainly positive review, stating that "The Bone Collector may be formulaic—but many good recipes are."[4] William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes the film as having "the characteristics of a bad slasher movie" in a mainly negative review, calling the plot "ultimately preposterous".[5]


  1. ^ "Behind the scenes". The Bone Collector Web site. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  2. ^ "The Bone Collector Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  3. ^ "Bone Collector, The (1999): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  4. ^ " - Weekend". MSNBC. MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  5. ^ William Arnold (1999-11-05). "Brutal 'Bone Collector' wallows in gruesome absurdity" (WEB). Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-12-06. [dead link]

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