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
The source novel's character equivalent to Illeana is James Costa, a British museum curator. Martin Asher's analog is Martin Arkenhout, a native of Holland. The prime settings of the novel are England and Portugal. See more »
When Illeana throws something at the full-length mirror, all of the pieces on top fall out. In the next shot, we see her reflection on a piece of mirror that is back in place at the top of the mirror. See more »
A compendium of serial killer movie clichés,but quite fun for all that
Imagine Seven,The Bone Collector,Kiss The Girls,Red Dragon and a load of similar movies all rolled into one,and you might get something like Taking Lives. It's quite a stylish and sometimes exciting movie,it's just almost completely lacking in originality. It's also pretty obvious who the killer is early on,so the film's plot has to take some very silly twists and turns to try to hide this.
Nevertheless,there is much that is good,perhaps it was realised that the script was mediocre and everybody tried hard to try to overcome this. Director David T. Caruso gives the film a very stylish feel,with some interesting use of camera angles and colour-check out the opening scene,in which the colour has been altered in some way to make it look somewhat dreamlike. A brief but exciting car chase and a murder in a lift are very well staged and edited. Angelina Jolie turns her unbelievable role into something approaching good,and Ethan Hawke almost matches her,especially near the end. Philip Glass's score is terrifically menacing,and the film is well paced,the first half slow but increasingly suspenseful and uneasy,the second half fast and full of action. There is also one 'jump' which really works well,I won't describe it but think of the hand coming out of the grave in Carrie...... The climax is over a little quickly,and gives us a supposed plot twist which is than proved to be fake. It would have been a lot more interesting if said plot twist was real.
Taking Lives never really delves into the twisted minds of it's two main protagonists nor truly gives a sense of evil as,for instance Seven did. It's one of those films that always seems on the verge of being really disturbing or thrilling and never gets there. Nevertheless,if you like serial killer movies,you're probably like this one,even if you will probably be able to guess much of the plot right from the beginning.
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