Taking Lives

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Thrillers

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Time Out says

FBI agent Illeana Scott (Jolie), a specialist in tracking serial killers, is the sort of maverick loner who crouches in open graves for inspiration and tapes autopsy photos above her bed. She's called in when the Montreal police are puzzled by a spate of slayings, and soon links a number of unsolved murders to a single perpetrator who assumes a victim's identity before moving on to the next target. Complicating factors: a sinister woman (Rowlands) who's reported sighting her long dead son; a shifty art dealer (Hawke), sole witness to the killer's latest unsuccessful assault, and who in turn is being menaced by the enigmatic Hart (Sutherland). The power casting alone tells you someone somewhere thought this adaptation of Michael Pye's novel was worth the effort. There's a Philip Glass score, too (though not one of his most memorable), and painstakingly gloomy camerawork reminiscent of Seven. Everyone works hard, and it's painless enough to enjoy the craft while you wait for the movie to kick in. Regrettably, it never does. Jolie is certainly concentrating, but she's too glamorous for this game, and Caruso misses a trick by sticking with plodding procedural while leaving the killer's semi-intriguing MO relatively undeveloped, presumably gambling everything on surprising us with the culprit's identity. Hardly wise with so few suspects. Along the way, there's a slightly desperate car chase, some ropey plotting and one genuinely effective scare.
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Release details

UK release:

2004

Duration:

103 mins

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