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 down 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 in that moment 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 hunt down the now 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
Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke worked with Denzel Washington. Jolie worked with Denzel five years before in The Bone Collector (1999), and Hawke worked with Denzel three years before in Training Day (2001). See more »
Costa claims to work late into the night to deal with customers in Europe. The time difference between Montreal and Europe makes this highly unlikely. See more »
"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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