The Bone Collector

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The Bone Collector
Bone collector poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhillip Noyce
Produced byMartin Bregman
Michael Bregman
Louis A. Stroller
Written byJeremy Iacone
Based onThe Bone Collector
by Jeffery Deaver
Music byCraig Armstrong
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byWilliam Hoy
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
(USA & Canada)
Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • November 5, 1999 (1999-11-05)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$48 million [1]
Box office$151.5 million

The Bone Collector is a 1999 horror 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.


In 1999 New York City, Tetraplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme (Washington) is bed-bound after an accident that left him completely paralyzed from the neck down. Amelia Donaghy (Jolie), a newly recruited patrol cop, discovers a mutilated corpse buried at a Civil War-era railroad bed. Due to clue-like objects found at the crime scene, Rhyme concludes that the scene was staged and subsequently teams up with an initially hesitant Amelia, impressed by her natural forensic instincts.

The killer poses as a taxi driver and, prior to Rhyme and Amelia meeting, abducts married couple Alan and Lindsay Rubin. Alan is the body discovered by Amelia at the railroad station, while Lindsay is revealed to be alive and tied up at a steam junction. Using the clues found at the railroad bed, including a torn piece of scrap paper, Rhyme successfully tracks the whereabouts of Lindsay. The detectives and Amelia arrive too late and she is scalded to death by an open steam pipe. Amelia finds a piece of Lindsay’s bone by her body and another scrap of paper. Rhyme instructs Amelia to sever Lindsay’s hands, which are securely chained to the pipe, for evidence but she refuses and storms off from the crime scene.

The killer abducts a New York University student, who is taken to a derelict slaughterhouse and tied to a pole. The killer surgically removes a piece of bone from the student, leaving an open wound that attracts nearby rats. Amelia and Rhyme, again using the clues left by the killer at the scene of the previous murder (Lindsay), find the victim’s body which has been mutilated by rats. Amelia finds another scrap of paper and a piece of bone. The pressure of the tense investigation and bureaucratic challenges to Amelia and Rhyme’s involvement in the case begin to have serious impacts on Rhyme’s health and stability. Thelma (Latifah), Rhyme’s personal carer and nurse, reveals to Amelia that he intends to euthanise himself out of fear of seizures that could leave him in a vegetative state.

After piecing together the message the killer was sending using the scrap paper left at each scene, Amelia and Rhyme are led to an old crime novel called The Bone Collector, where it is revealed the killer is replicating the crimes from the fictional story. This leads them to the killer’s next victims, a grandfather and granddaughter who have been tied to a pier during a rise in tide. The paramedics successfully resuscitate the young girl, but the grandfather had already drowned. At the scene, Amelia finds another piece of bone, part of an old police badge, and a subway map. These clues together with the asbestos left by the killer at scene of Lindsay’s death lead Amelia to an abandoned subway station, where she sees numbers on the side of a carriage that have been tampered with to spell out Rhyme’s police badge number.

The killer arrives at Rhyme’s house and kills both Thelma and police Captain Howard Cheney. The killer is revealed to be Richard Thompson, the medical technician in charge of Rhyme’s medical equipment. Richard’s real name is Marcus Andrews, a former forensics expert who was convicted after Rhyme wrote an article accusing him of planting evidence resulting in the wrongful imprisonment of six innocent people, one of whom hanged themselves. Blaming Rhyme for his imprisonment and the abuse he endured during, he attempts to kill Rhyme out of revenge. Rhyme retaliates by crushing Marcus’ hand in his medical bed, resulting in a struggle between the two that forces them both onto the floor. Unable to move, Rhyme is almost killed by Marcus until Amelia arrives and shoots Marcus dead.

The following Christmas, Rhyme, having abandoned his plans to commit suicide, faces his sister and niece coming to visit him along with Amelia and his other colleagues.



Exterior scenes were filmed in New York City. Interior scenes were shot in Montreal.[2]


Critical reception[edit]

Based on 85 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, The Bone Collector has an average approval rating of 28%, with an average score of 4.2/10.[3] By comparison, Metacritic gave the film an average score of 45 based on the 33 reviews that it collected.[4]

Eric S. Arnold of Newsweek gives a mainly positive review, stating that "The Bone Collector may be formulaic—but many good recipes are."[5] 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".[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "The Bone Collector Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  4. ^ "Bone Collector, The (1999): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  5. ^ " - Weekend". MSNBC. MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  6. ^ 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]

External links[edit]