Notable as the directorial debut of Blade Runner co-writer Hampton Fancher, this darkly comic thriller stars 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, Siegert chooses victims from a parade of social misfits and expounds on his motives with a pocket tape recorder (a monologue that serves as the film's narrative voice-over). A brief layover in Owensville eventually finds Vann in the company of warring middle-aged couple Doug and Jane, who grow fond of the young drifter's amiable demeanour and take him on as a boarder. After landing a job at the local post office, Vann catches the eye of co-worker Ferrin, and a tentative romance blossoms - but even love can't distract Vann from his crusade to terminate people's unhappiness.
The Gentle Killer.
- The Minus Man review by Shatner's Bassoon
(2) of (2) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
Vann is a polite and sweet natured young man with a charming smile and an easy going attitude. Travelling across the Pacific Northwest he stops off in a small coastal town looking for some casual work and rents a room from a local couple. After finding work in the local post office Vann soon settles into his surroundings and is a popular addition to the local community. The trouble is Vann is also a serial killer who poisons his victims in the belief he is simply putting them out of their misery. Normally Vann moves from town to town killing along the way, but in his current location he is soon promoted within the post office, develops a relationship with a local girl and a close bond with his landlord. And soon Vann’s urge to kill outweighs his own self imposed rule of not killing in the town where he stays, and it’s not long before the locals soon go missing or mysteriously die. The Minus Man isn’t your usual serial killer flick; there are very few thrills, no edge of your seat car chases and an ambiguous ending which leaves more questions than answers. What it is though is a snapshot of a few months of Vann’s strange life, in which on the exterior he comes across as an enormously likeable, sweet and almost childlike character, though simmering beneath the surface is an extremely disturbed and dangerous individual, who due to his everyday boy next door looks and temperament always seems to duck under the radar of suspicion. Overall, The Minus Man is a tough film to categorise and one that you’ll either love or hate. Though if you like films by Wes Anderson, Michael Cuesta and Todd Solondz then this is something you should definitely add to your rental list.
Killing with kindness??
- The Minus Man review by Kurtz
(1) of (2) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 3
This is an oddball thriller starring a young Owen Wilson as a serial killer who uses the minimum of force and prefers his victims to “simply go to sleep”. Straight away, then, the scares and tension linked with your standard serial killer movie are sacrificed, and you are left with more time to watch Wilson’s cheerful, considerate demeanour and ponder his motivation for these acts. You get plenty of the former as he charms his way around town, but very little insight into the latter as his hits get increasingly random (the stuff in the publicity material about “putting people out of their misery” simply doesn’t hold up) and his explanations ever vaguer.