"I've never done anything violent to anyone," says the mild-mannered Vann Siegert, "Just the minimum that was necessary." Indeed, if you have to get knocked off by a serial killer, Vann (Owen Wilson) is definitely your man... more ». Just a quick, sweet swig from a silver flask of poisoned amaretto and you're out, with a narcoleptic slump into eternal slumber. There's no taunting or torturing; he's friendly about the whole thing. You can see Vann almost--almost--wishing his victims wouldn't take that final sip. He doesn't hold any particular grudge against these people; rather, as he puts it, "I take the natural momentum of a person and draw it toward me." If someone looks like they're on a crash course--like the boozy, asthmatic heroin addict played convincingly by Sheryl Crow, her acting debut--he merely accelerates the process. Wilson proves to be a mesmerizing if unlikely serial killer, his flat, Midwestern delivery ringing more sincere than sinister, more Charlie Brown than Charles Manson. His voiceovers purportedly allow us into the mind of a killer, but what we hear isn't all that different from what we see. Vann isn't faking the nice-guy veneer, he is a nice guy, with this one little quirk. Clearly, this is not your typical edge-of-your-seat thriller, but the slow, dreamy pace is nonetheless entrancing. There are moments of intense grace and humor here, too. Janeane Garofalo breaks away from the smart-aleck mold to portray a postal employee smitten with Vann, and Mercedes Ruehl takes a compelling turn as his troubled landlady. "I like the detail of a thing," Vann says. "Especially if it's got a purpose." While we may not know for certain whether this film has a purpose, the details dare you to stop watching, even for an instant. --Brangien Davis« less
Steve C. (coligno1) from GILBERT, AZ Reviewed on 1/24/2012...
Ouch...BAD! The movie was bad. It was like a terrible inside joke that is not funny to anyone else listening. The story was awful, Sheryl Crow's acting was that terrible inside joke I mentioned, the ending couldn't come quick enough...I was literally watching the clock. The one positive I would give this epic failure, would be Owen Wilson. It was interesting to see him in a serious role, delaing with serious issues. He nailed the part, he was believable, twisted, and definitely the highlight. It shows that he is more than just a character actor. He has some range, and although I can't say he made the movie, he definitely solidified himself as a true actor. I would not suggest this film to friends, family, or even acquaintances...maybe not even my enemies.
M. Riggs | 06/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Films about serial killers, in my humble opinion, have a tendency to be convoluted. They either use the gimmicks and glamor of Hollywood( Casting Selma Hayak as Martha Beck, the lovelorn nurse, hefty in girth, but not in morality)to seduce your sensibilities, or create an unpalatable monster( Laura Prepon as Karla Holmoka, a sadist with a beautiful face). Owen Wilson recreates the serial killer as a character. He placates you with a charming, articulate persona, then proceeds to blindside the viewer with acts of non-violent murder. He never attempts to justify his actions with rationality, or some purpose based complex. He is...as he says...empty. Its difficult for me to imagine a man like Owen Wilson as a serial killer. His face seems so open, and inviting, his kindness appears sincere and non-threatening. Perhaps this is the genius of the casting choice. He is the Elephant in the room, with his complete lack of emotional flux. For me, The Minus Man redefined the face of inhumanity, by showing us how the seemingly normal ones always fall through the cracks. Highly recommended."
Great unknown film
R. McGuire | Chicago, Il United States | 02/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"great film - creative and creepy. filmed in a warm, calming manner that offsets the twisted behavior of the lead character. well worth a view."
Laid back killer-thriller
Schtinky | California | 10/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Vann Siegert (Owen Wilson) is a laid-back drifter. Approaching a small seaside town, he runs into heroin addict Laurie Bloom (Sheryl Crow) in a dive bar. Taking her for a drive, he offers her a drink from his special flask ... amaretto and poison. Leaving the body in a roadside restroom, he continues into town.
Once in town, Vann takes a room from the Durwins. Doug Durwin (Brian Cox, the best Hannibal Lector from 'Manhunter') takes to Vann immediately, but Jane Durwin (Mercedes Ruel, The Fisher King) is cold at first. Doug is quite fond of young HS football player Gene, and is deeply affected when Gene goes missing. Gene is a victim of Vann's, though Vann broke two of his own rules. (Don't give a drink to someone you know, and don't do anything in the town you live in) Doug gets Vann a job at the local Post Office, where Vann meets Ferrin (Janeane Garofalo), who smokes and drinks, two things Vann doesn't do. Vann and Ferrin hit it off anyway, and Vann settles into his new residence and new life. But there are parts of his old life he won't give up, and the killing continues.
'The Minus Man' is not a fast-paced thriller. It's a casual stroll through Vann's life, narrated by him, revealing his personal thoughts on life, other people, and killing. Vann suffers from fainting spells, in which two detectives from his past haunt him. Det. Blair (Dwight Yoakam, who proved he could act in 'Sling Blade') and Det. Graves (Dennis Haysbert) appear in his subconscious, asking questions about his reason for killing. Even Van himself is befuddled at some of his actions, and often uses humor instead of explanations in his answers.
Owen Wilson always plays such a laid-back role (Meet The Parents, Zoolander, Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights, etc.) that it was a surprise to see him cast as a serial killer. But the casual pace of the movie, combined with Vann's tranquil narration of his motives, is fully suited to Wilson's characteristic relaxed persona. The acting is very good and the characters are interesting. The plot is terrific and the twists surprising and inspired. This is a great movie to rent or buy. Enjoy! "
Bradley F. Smith | Miami Beach, FL | 11/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Given what we know about Owen Wilson's subsequent career after this 1999 low-key serial killer flick, you may have a hard time not smirking a bit at his screen presence. It's the same here as in later flicks like "Wedding Crashers." The guy has one speed, evidently. Still, it's fun to watch Sheryl Crow and Dwight Yoakum acting instead of singing. The tale is downbeat, no gore. The ending is unlikely, though. Not a bad waste of time."