I have a dream, and it's not just an erotic one


Take Denzel Washington, for instance. And there are many who would - not least Angelina Jolie in America's grisly new hit she shares with him, The Bone Collector. Denzel is not only one of the best American actors. He's one of the sexiest. Then I cast my mind back to The Pelican Brief where he was the reporter who came to the aid of Julia Roberts and her righteous paranoia - but only got a peck on the cheek at the end. In Courage Under Fire, he starred with Meg Ryan - but her character was dead before his came into the story. That's no way for a guy to get a girl.

Never mind, I thought, in The Bone Collector he's with Angelina Jolie, owner of the most effulgent mouth since Jagger's. They play fellow-cops on the trail of a clever murderer. Something has to happen, doesn't it?

There is something. At one moment Denzel is sleeping, and Angelina runs her forefinger up and down his. Forefinger. It's a sweet, romantic moment, of the sort that hardly exists in movies any more. That's when I knew I was having a good old-fashioned time at The Bone Collector, despite its defaced corpses.

You see, Denzel plays a quadriplegic, a cop who can only move his head, his mind and that forefinger, taped to the control panel of his computer system so he can press the mouse. Angelina is a spunky uniformed cop who finds a murdered body and has an instinct for forensics that is brought to Denzel's attention. He is not just bedbound, but a cop emeritus and a genius, the author of several books on forensics. As the story begins he has just made a deal with his doctor to terminate his life. He can't stand paralysis; and he dreads the next, vegetative state. Then he's lifted out of his gloom by getting to work with her on this new case - one in which the scholarly serial killer might have been designed for Denzel.

So, while he stays in his apartment, she goes out on the job, keeping in radio communication with him, learning how to find the crucial evidence, penetrating some of the most gruesome subterranean settings known to cinema, and drawing the line only at sawing off one victim's hands so they can study the antique handcuffs. Every now and then, she comes back to the apartment, and he looks at her, and she looks at him.

Now, if you've been awake the last few years you know how Denzel looks at people. And I have to tell you that Angelina Jolie, with eyes that never short-change her mouth, is going to be around for some time.

There's a moment in The Bone Collector when you realise that this isn't just another version of Seven (cops against cruel brainbox). It's a love story. Let me confess that I had this column in mind before I went to see The Bone Collector. For I had assumed in advance that Hollywood was not going to let Denzel and Angelina have sex on the screen. Thus, something profound in the logic of these two beautiful people would be left begging - just as it was at the end of The Pelican Brief.

Thirty-two years ago, we were obliged to describe the excruciating politeness of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (in which Katharine Hepburn's real-life niece was engaged to Sidney Poitier) as an advance in race relations. Since then, we have had the commercial disaster of Love Field (in which Michelle Pfeiffer - as a dumb blonde - was supposed to fall in love with Dennis Haysbert), and Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, which does eventually get to the bodies, but blurs black and white in the sheen of super-stardom.

I can think of few other examples, despite the natural increase of inter- marriage in American and Hollywood society. There are still many parts of America where a serious sex scene between Denzel and Angelina would kill a movie's box-office prospects. Yet, somehow, the press commentary on the movie world alleges that Washington is unusually "intense" or "difficult", as if no obvious reason for discontent lay at hand. White victims of terrible physical damage have had sex in movies - I'm thinking of Born on the 4th of July and Coming Home, in which the wheelchair vet was played by Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie's father. But Denzel never lays a finger on Angelina.

It's not so much that I have a burning need to see such scenes, or unbridled screen love affairs between, say, Ving Rhames and Meryl Streep. More importantly, I would like to have the scene that follows sex in which black and white talk to each other and air out the issues linked to being together and of different colour. Our culture needs films in which the taboo is talked about, teased and joked away. But the nearest film has come is the romantic failure in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, which settles for the idea that black and white being together is hard. Nearly as hard as marriage, maybe.

On the other hand, a part of me reckons that the movies don't do sex very well. The camera is so hooked on appearance; and sexual feeling is so inward and sensual. That's why I'll treasure the way Denzel and Angelina look at each other. When her eyes widen, it's one of the sexiest scenes of the century.

`The Bone Collector' will open in Britain next year

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor