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
Despite my love of Angelina Jolie, I must say that Taking Lives wasted a lot of good opportunity.
Given that they invented an entirely new lead character, we can't really compare this to the book, so let's look at it as a movie of it's own right.
Jolie plays Illeana Scott, a somewhat strange FBI agent who is called up to Canada to investigate the grisly murders of several young men, all whom have had their identities stolen by the killer. New to the scene is witness James Costa, Ethan Hawke, who soon grows to have an attachment to Scott.
At turns formulaic and down right rip off (the credits are far too similar to be called a homage to SE7EN), Taking Lives is a very enjoyable piece of work.
Beautifully shot, the film wallows in its moods. It knows that it can be creepy, but it wears it out on its sleeves.
Angelina is on top form as Scott, although its a shame that the movie does stoop to the need for quick-sex-scene-with-unnecessary-titty-shot.
Ethan Hawke is bearable as Costa, although he and Jolie have very little chemistry.
Other players, Olivier Martinez, Gena Rowlands, Tcheky Karyo and Jean Hughes-Angalade are also quite good.
The film does have its highs: excellent cinematography, creepy sinister mood, two fantastic adrenaline-jump moments that I never saw coming. But it also has one FATAL flaw, and that is that anyone who has seen any piece of film or television before will be able to guess who the killer is. Still, a fun movie nevertheless.
7/10 If you get the chance to see it in the cinema, watch people's reactions to the 'scissors-scene'. I was amazed to see hoe genuinely horrified even the most hardened viewers in my cinema were.
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