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
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 »
When Costa is in the bar, he receives a note instructing him "Meet me in the restroom". In Canada, the correct terminology is "washroom", and someone asking where the restroom is will frequently be met with blank looks. See more »
There are a lot of these crime thrillers about. Some, such as Copycat and Insomnia, offer a surprisingly good time; but more often than not, these films are a lot more like Murder by Numbers and The Bone Collector, and unfortunately; Taking Lives is like the latter. That being said, the film certainly isn't all bad; and definitely does have its moments. The plot has little regard for consistency or logic, as it constantly switches gears and throws in any number of events that are clearly there for dramatic effect and haven't been thought out properly. The film 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 help their police force with a case that involves a serial killer 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 always a lot like Fincher's earlier flick. The pace of the film is poorly paced, as sometimes it's fast and furious, while at other times it's very dull. At almost an hour and fifty minutes, the film 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 way 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 other films in its class, the writers have forgotten that for dramatic effect to work, it needs to make sense. The acting is good 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 every 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 films that are like 'Taking Lives', than Taking Lives.
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