Usual suspect

Rated 2.0

After seriously losing his cool during the course of an investigation involving a rapist/serial killer, an FBI agent (The Core refugee Tom Mackelway) is reassigned to the backwaters of Albuquerque (they don’t even have a Starbucks!), where he finds himself immediately engaged in a game of cat and mouse with yet another serial killer. Seems America is just teeming with these sociopaths, but this new one (Ben Kingsley) has not only a decidedly unique (for this tired genre) agenda, but also a preternaturally deadly weapon at his disposal—a talent for remote viewing (for those who have never tuned into Art Bell, that’s a knack for being able to “tune in” to another place, another person’s headspace.)

While not exactly bad, Suspect Zero joins a stable already crowded by the likes of Se7en, Silence of the Lambs and the innumerable knock-offs.

While at times riffing off of the antecedents, director E. Elias Merhige (Shadow of the Vampire) indulges in his predilection for quirky camera angles and atonal background music to try to disguise the fact that there is really nothing much new here. Kingsley gets to chew the scenery as usual, Mackelway goes cross-eyed focusing too intently on the camera lens, and Carrie Anne-Moss drops by to provide an apathetic love interest. On the plus side, as these things go this one is refreshingly light on the onscreen sadism (as wreaked on innocents) and restrained application of the gore (again, as these things go).

Good for an air-conditioned matinee.