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Taking Lives 2004
Description: Recruited to support Montreal police in their desperate find for a serial assassin who assumes the identities of his victims, FBI profiler Illeana Scott knows it's only a matter of time before the assassin strikes again. Her most promising lead is a museum employee who might be the killer's only eyewitness.
Released: 19 Mar 2004 Director: D.J. Caruso Writers: Michael Pye (novel), Jon Bokenkamp (screen story), Jon Bokenkamp (screenplay) Actors: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Gena Rowlands Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
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Taking Lives Reviews:

This film is BAD. I knew going in that it was going to be bad, but I play a nice cheesy thriller each actually and then. Still, there are some points of badness that really pass the mission of any redeeming value. It's a shame, because it had a nice cast. Angelina is turning into one of those actresses that one likes in SPITE of her work. It's too terrible she can't search something to take advantage of her uniqueness. But anyway.The rest of this will be filled with COPIOUS SPOILERS, because we're going to pick the film apart for the benefit of readers who have already seen it.Oh dear, where to begin?Let's start with Ethan. I think it would have been MUCH more interesting to establish from the beginning (or about halfway through) that he was the assassin (I mean intentionally. not just by making it so obvious to anyone who has seen a serial assassin film before, or, scratch that, anyone who has seen a MOVIE before). If you knew he was the assassin they should develop this thing about WHY did he select to place himself at the center of this investigation into his crimes? They should have played it off that he picked Angelina beforehand to manipulate. That would have been interesting. As it stands, once it's revealed that he's the killer, the entire entirety of his performance up til that mission doesn't create any sense, and misses so many of the intriguing chances described above.This is one of those films where it seems the writer and director just hope you won't think too difficult (or at all) about what happened before the moment unfolding on screen.There was zero chemistry between Angelina and Ethan. They set up Angelina as this cool and confident FBI agent who's seen it all. why would she fall for this whiny loser artist? Her supposedly falling for him had 'Plot Twist' written all over it, because it betrayed the character, and the audience who had built up nice feeling for her in spite of the screenplay. I also resented how she turned into such a broken shell of a girl after the 'shock' of Ethan being the assassin was 'revealed.' Come on, the script had built her up as much more psychologically solid than that. If there had been the slightest heat between her and Ethan, we might have believed that her overwhelming passion 'clouded her judgment,' which is what I think we're supposed to believe, but it just fails spectacularly and ends up p**sing the audience off.And while I don't wish to be overly PC, there is really NO excuse for Angelina to tell that it's OKAY for other (male) detective to HIT her (hard, too), especially when the reason he's hitting her is for being a low girl who allow her emotions cloud her judgment. I blame Angelina personally for that one, because she could have told 'No WAY am I shooting that.' It would be other thing if it added ANYTHING to the movie. Grrrr..Ah, what else? I really enjoyed Keifer's 3.7 seconds of screen time.I LOVED how the detective who is supposedly protecting Ethan--who is being shuttled out of the town because he's in so much danger--leaves him alone in the apartment for like five mins (while one of the numerous red herrings of course shows up and attacks him) while he just waits outside by the car. Soon a hero tells what a shame it is that a nice cop like him got killed, and I was like, 'Good cop my ass! That doofus deserved it!'And the entire thing about Angelina lying in the grave goes absolutely nowhere.And who did that guy under the bed turn out to be? Did I miss the cursory explanation?Someone just needs to trouble a moratorium on generic serial assassin films with pointless plot twists for the sake of having plot twists. This is one of those films with so many pointless twists and so many deliberate deceptions of the audience that eventually you just begin to resent it. Don't receive me wrong. I play a nice old cheesy serial assassin movie, like The Bone Collector, which was equally ridiculous, but in a fun way. but this one shows contempt of its audience and just pisses me off. Do these movies create enough cash anymore that they really still need to be made? I guess there has to be SOMETHING to present on airplanes.And Angelina, seriously, drop me a line and I will WRITE you a script. In the meantime, you know dear, if you can imagine Ashley Judd being in it just as easy as yourself, maybe it's time to steer clear.Oh, oh dear.--- Check out site devoted to terrible and cheesy movies: www.cinemademerde.com


There are a lot of these crime thrillers about. Some, such as Copycat and Insomnia, offer a surprisingly nice time; but more often than not, these movies are a lot more like Murder by Numbers and The Bone Collector, and unfortunately; Taking Lives is like the latter. That being said, the movie certainly isn't all bad; and definitely does have its moments. The plot has tiny regard for consistency or logic, as it constantly switches gears and throws in any number of happenings that are clearly there for dramatic result and haven't been thought out properly. The movie is an obvious derivative of successful nineties thriller, 'Seven' and some scenes, such as the entry into the murderer's home have been taken wholesale from the superior movie. The plot has a lot of elements, but we principally follow FBI agent Illeana Scott as she travels to Montreal in order to support their police force with a situation that involves a serial assassin who, not content to simply murder his victims, takes their identity and lives their lives for a period before moving onto his next victim.The cinematography is dark and glossy, and sleazy settings mean that it's everytime a lot like Fincher's earlier flick. The pace of the movie is poorly paced, as sometimes it's quick and furious, while at another times it's very dull. At almost an hour and fifty minutes, the movie is too long; and a better editing job is definitely in order. The final half hour is of particular note for being poorly judged. It's far too slow, and means that rather than being memorable; the conclusion is tepid and disorientated. The first twist can be seen coming a mile off, and the method that it is revealed disregards logic for dramatic effect. The final twist doesn't work well either, as everything is far too convenient. It seems that in their effort to outdo all the another movies in its class, the writers have forgotten that for dramatic result to work, it needs to create sense. The acting is nice enough, and it's obvious why the dark and mysterious Angelina Jolie was cast in the lead. Ethan Hawke, who I seem to like more each time I see him, is good; while Kiefer Sutherland is given nothing at all to do. On the whole, this is worth a watch if you've got nothing better to do; but there are better movies that are like 'Taking Lives', than Taking Lives.


If I had to write a one sentence review for Taking Lives, it would be, "If you have seen a ridiculous amount of thriller films and have seen all the twists and turns before, then this film is very predictable, if you haven't, it is worth a look and you may even be surprised." For those that wish more, please read on.I trust the casting for this film was as close to excellent as they were going to get. Angelina Jolie stars as FBI Agent Illeana Scott. Illeana has both strengths and weaknesses,which are both done in the right way. She is a very smart detective and can pick up clues that many should not and leads the method to many territories that the another detectives would never have found. She does not come off as the hardened, tough cop that would have made this film much worse. Instead, she usually gets the short end of the stick when forced to do physical war with lowlifes and even another cops. She is flawed and vulnerable but can place up a hell of a war when required but relies on her brain to beat a larger and stronger foe. For an example of how to do this the wrong way, see Ashley Judd (of whom I'm also a fanatic of) in Twisted. Olivier Martinez plays a hero I search difficult to like at any part of the movie called Paquette. Paquette is a Canadian cop who has problems with bringing the FBI in (I'm not sure if the FBI now assists in Canadian affairs, but this is just a movie). Olivier seems likable as a person and I'm not familiar with his work, as I'm sure it is mostly French. I'll chalk it up to nice acting.Keifer Sutherland had only what seemed to be a bit part here and should have been used a bit more. He was probably in and out in 2 days of filming.And finally, Ethan Hawke did a fine job for his role, but I think they should have made a better choice for this character.As I told earlier, those of us who see many of these types of films will probably see most of the twists before they happen. Many of them well before they happen. Some of you will know everything that's going to happen before it happens, such as I did, but I still think it was a nice storyline and was entertained. I can honestly suggest this one for at least a rental.



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