***½/**** Image A Sound A Extras B
starring Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley, Carrie-Anne Moss, Harry J. Lennix
screenplay by Zak Penn and Billy Ray
directed by E. Elias Merhige
by Walter Chaw A metaphysical serial killer film, E. Elias Merhige's Suspect Zero is implications and shadows married to exploitation and shock: a queasy stew dredging the well of archetype that disturbs with the blasted nihilism of its vision. With its wastelands and its bloated, appallingly fertile cadavers reaching into their own wounds, it reminds of Merhige's own avant-garde silent film Begotten; and it reminds of Dario Argento's Deep Red, literally in the reveal of a wallpaper-palimpsest and figuratively in the intrusion of the supernatural into the mendacity of a crime story. This is the only kind of police procedural film possible after Se7en, one that doesn't go over the same theological ground but rather forges paths through more philological terrain--the serial killer genre as Thomas Harris tried to redefine it for the literary elite. Suspect Zero is smart and anxious.