Subject Zero (2004)


Director: E. Elias Merhige

Writer: Zak Penn, Billy Ray (Screenplay) Zak Penn (Story)

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley, Carrie-Anne Moss, Harry Lennix, Kevin Chamberlin, Julian Reyes, Keith Campbell, Chloe Russell


Plot: When Dallas FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway (Eckhart) violates serial killer Raymond Starkey’s civil rights during an unorthodox arrest, Starkey goes free and Mackelway is demoted to a remote branch of the agency in Albuquerque. His first day on the job, Mackelway investigates the murder of a traveling salesman Harold Speck, which turns out to be the first of three seemingly random killings. Or perhaps they are not random at all; the last to die is Mackelway’s nemesis, Raymond Starkey (Campbell). The assignment consumes him. His past mistakes haunt him. His head throbs constantly as he tries to find the link between the victims that will lead him to their killer. The case becomes increasingly gruesome and patently personal. This does not go unnoticed by his unflappable partner Fran Kulok (Moss), who knows of Mackelway’s past and the demons that afflict him. Like Mackelway, she becomes drawn into the labyrinth of chilling clues, all of which point to the enigmatic Benjamin O’Ryan (Kingsley). O’Ryan clearly has a connection to the murders, a connection he flaunts; quite possibly, he may also harbour a sinister link to Mackelway.


Verdict: Serial Thriller


Story: A disgraced agent tracking a killer who is tracking killers, but is he a killer too? Well that is the question that this film leaves you wonder about and we focus heavily on Tom and Ben, not so much on any victims involved. The old cat-and-mouse chase comes off well but does have a small twist in the traditional story.  The story does start slow, but once we know what is going on and discover more about Ben Kingsley’s character the tension starts to rise. The film does try to move away from other films that are similar in nature, but will end up just another film in the category that only the final conclusion really stands out. (7/10)


Actor Review


Aaron Eckhart: Thomas the disgraced FBI agent who took a criminal back across the border to arrest him leading him to go free and Thomas’ career to go down the drain. This new case gives him a chance to redeem himself. Aaron could be a great leading man, but he always seems to get out shone by a fellow cast member. (7/10)


Ben Kingsley: Benjamin a mysterious man who is tracking people down, but once we discover he is killing serial killers, how many people has he killed? Good emotionless killer that will complete his tasks without remorse. (8/10)

Carrie-Anne Moss: Fran Tom’s old partner who re-teams with him to solve the newest case that has turned up on his desk. Good supporting performance being Tom’s restriction to his aggressive style. (7/10)


Director Review: E. Elias Merhige – Creates some good atmosphere but never really pulls the audience all the way in till too late. (6/10)


Thriller: The slow start costs this film because the conclusion really comes good. (6/10)

Settings: The settings don’t add anything to this film, which they could have added a lot more to everything. (2/10)

Suggestion: The crime thriller fans should give this a chance, if you are a fan of the Criminal Minds or CSI’s of the world you will enjoy but if you are just a causal fan this will not be one for you. (Give It A Go)


Best Part: The idea is great.

Worst Part: Slow moving to start with.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No, poor box office.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Your number is up.


Overall: Slow Moving Thriller


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