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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Zero Effect (1998)



Reviews and Comments

"You can't buy silence -- you can only rent it."

The opening scenes of Zero Effect define the main character more vividly than most movie characters ever are -- all before he even sets foot on screen. It's an accurate predictor of the film as a whole. This is a mystery story, about a detective tracking down a blackmailer, but it's a mystery more interested in its characters and their peculiar drives and emotions than the mystery itself. In fact, if you look at the second half from a certain distance, you'll discover the movie doesn't even seem that interested in its mystery. But I certainly didn't notice this as I was watching it -- the characters wrapped me up in it so fully that it was engrossing just to watch how the characters went about solving it. There's another asset this film has -- it's funny. I was surprised at how much I laughed.