Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

There is a formula to serial killer movies. Complicity discards it and gets lost. By concentrating on the dysfunctional lifestyle of newspaper reporter, Cameron Colley (Jonny Lee Miller), tension is dissipated.

A first-person narrative is used to keep the audience on board. Because of the plot's diversity - going back to childhood, involving youthful activists in their protest years, etc - this tends to confuse, rather than elucidate.

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Too much is being stuffed into too small an envelope. There is Cameron, the radical investigative journalist, having his stories slashed by sub-editors. There is Cameron, the addictions collector, hooked on cigarettes, cocaine and computer games, whose sex life with a married friend (Keeley Hawes) appears surprisingly unconventional.

There are the killings themselves that have some kind of connection to... what? Arms sales? Capitalism? Fat cats? There are Cameron's mates from way back, who had a great time, taking drugs, shooting clay pigeons, battling with the cops at political rallies, falling in love - two become millionaires and one dies of bad habits.

Gavin Millar is not David (Se7en) Fincher. He directs in the style of a TV journeyman. The deaths are grotesque and yet he makes them laughable. By the end, with credibility gone, you neither care, nor understand, except, at the back of your mind is a nagging question: how can Cameron skive off work?

It is not Jonny Lee Miller's fault that Cameron is less interesting than he imagines. As an antihero, he plays it bland, flaffing about like a stoned parrot, waiting for the next atrocity and having flashbacks to more innocent times.

Seriously good actors, such as Brian Cox (Detective Chief Inspector) and Bill Paterson (newspaper editor), walk on, look concerned, walk off. Edinburgh is the location, although you would be forgiven for not noticing. The Highlands get a better showing. It rains up there.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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An investigative journalist discovers people in his articles are being bumped off by a serial killer.
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Director: Gavin Millar

Writer: Brian Elsley, based on the novel by Iain Banks.

Starring: Jonny Lee Miller, Brian Cox, Keeley Hawes, Paul Higgins, Jason Hetherington, Bill Paterson, Samuel West, Laura Ellis, Alan Sinclair, Alex Norton, Valerie Edmond

Year: 1999

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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