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Taking Lives (2004)

R  |   |  Crime, Mystery, Thriller  |  19 March 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 62,577 users   Metascore: 38/100
Reviews: 310 user | 143 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

An FBI profiler is called in by French Canadian police to catch a serial killer who takes on the identity of each new victim.



(novel), (screen story), 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
André Lacoste ...
Billy Two Rivers ...
Richard Lemire ...
Québec City Cop
Julien Poulin ...
Christian Tessier ...


The film starts in the early 1980s. Young Martin Asher took a bus for Canada. He meets another teen on the bus Matt Soulsby. When the bus broke they decided to rent a car and drive to Seattle. On the road the car gets a flat tire, and Matt starts changing the tire Martin comments on how he and Matt are about the same height and he quickly pushes Matt in the way of an oncoming truck causing a huge accident where Matt and the driver both die. He took Matt's guitar and left singing like Matt did. Twenty years later, an FBI profiler, Illeana Scott comes to Canada to help hunting down a serial killer Martin Asher who killed multiple men and lived by their identities. Martin's mother claims that she saw Martin in Quebec city and she tells the police that Martin is evil. The police also has an eyewitness James Costa who saw Asher kill his last victim... Written by victoria

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He Would Kill To Be You.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence including disturbing images, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

19 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elude võtmine  »

Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,458,465 (USA) (19 March 2004)


$32,682,342 (USA) (28 May 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


A scene was shot in which Illeana drives back to her house with the old pick-up and a branch from a tree falls and breaks the windshield. It took several takes to get the shot, and apparently destroyed the last remaining windshields for the pick-up available anywhere in North America at the time. The scene was not used. See more »


One of the Montreal police officers reassures Costa that the serial killer "won't get within 50 yards of you". While Canada is officially metric, its proximity to the U.S. as well as stubbornness among older generations means that in several instances old imperial measurements are still used. Many people still use feet and inches instead of meters for height, and many Canadians still refer to yards instead of meters for distance. See more »


[first lines]
Cashier: Where are you going?
See more »


Referenced in 'Hellboy': The Seeds of Creation (2004) See more »


Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones
Performed by The Clash
Courtesy of Epic Records/Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd.
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

undistinguished thriller
9 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Taking Lives" is a standard-issue, run-of-the-mill thriller about a serial killer and the FBI agent determined to capture him. When bodies start piling up in the Montreal area, the agent - an expert in serial killer profiling - is brought in to assist the local authorities in finding the culprit. The perpetrator's modus operandi is to target men roughly his own age and build, murder them in cold blood, then assume their identities. Once he grows tired of living their lives, he proceeds to his next victim. Ethan Hawke plays a man who's witnessed the most recent of the killings and who may now be next in line on the man's hit list.

"Taking Lives" sticks pretty much within the confines of its overworked genre. We have the disgruntled local cop who resents interference from a hotshot outsider; the prime suspect who turns out to be just another of the killer's many victims; and the double twist resolution which really isn't all that hard to see coming twenty minutes or so into the movie. Jolie gives her usual wooden performance as the FBI agent, barely managing to register a single convincing emotion throughout the course of the film. Hawke does his best with the material, though there really isn't much he can do with it apart from going through the motions, which he does reasonably well. Gena Rowlands and Keefer Sutherland are also on hand to lend their talents, but since their roles are fairly miniscule, they don't have much of a chance to display their wares as actors.

Although watchable, "Taking Lives" feels like a weak-spined, half-hearted effort in an already played-out genre. It is an instantly forgettable film.

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