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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 Bone Collector
Bone collector poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Produced by

Martin Bregman
Michael Bregman
Louis A. Stroller

Executive producer 
Dan Jinks
Written by Jeremy Iacone
Based on The Bone Collector
by Jeffery Deaver
Music by Craig Armstrong
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by William Hoy
Distributed by Universal Pictures
(USA & Canada)
Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • November 5, 1999 (1999-11-05)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $48 million [1]
Box office $151.5 million

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 begins in late 1999. Tetraplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme and a patrol cop, Amelia Donaghy, team up to solve a string of murders connected to a serial killer by his signature: a single shard of bone 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.

The killer poses as a New York City taxi driver and abducts and kills those who get in his taxi. The first victims are a married couple named Alan and Lindsay Rubin who the killer picked up at the airport. 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 a New York University student, who is taken to a derelict slaughterhouse, where he is tied to a pole. Part of his thigh bone is surgically removed, and he is left for rats to feed on. Amelia and Rhyme, using the clues left by the killer at the scene of Lindsay Rubin's death, find the victim dead. 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 Amelia 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 some asbestos left by the killer at the scene of Mrs. Rubin's death, lead Amelia to an abandoned subway station, where she sees some numbers which have been tampered with to spell out Rhyme's police badge number—Amelia realizes that the killer is after Rhyme.

The killer arrives at Rhyme's house, and after killing Rhyme's nurse, Thelma, and Captain Howard Cheney, he is revealed to be the medical technician who cares for Rhyme's medical equipment, Richard Thompson. Richard's real name is Marcus Andrews, and he is a former forensics expert who worked in Syracuse.

About 8 years ago, Rhyme wrote an article accusing Marcus of planting evidence and sending six innocent people to prison, and one of those people hanged himself. Marcus spent six years in prison, and after getting released, he spent two years trying to find Rhyme. Marcus was often attacked or raped in the prison, and he wants Rhyme to pay for what the article put him through.

Rhyme manages to crush Marcus's right hand by suddenly dropping his bed horizontally, 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 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. Rhyme and Amelia are implied to have a relationship.



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


Critical receptionEdit

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 linksEdit