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Taking Lives (2004)

It Sure Is — Written by vepro on 18.12.2012

I must say at the beginning, that I usually don’t write anything about movies I don’t like but this one got me so upset and I found myself really offended and insulted by it, that I couldn’t just let it go.
When you read the plot of Taking Lives on IMDb it seems quite interesting and that is why I watched this one in the first place. But the short plot is the same as the whole movie: deceiving and untrue. You are promised a suspense thriller, with a possibility of a psychological aspect included (her being an FBI profiler) but what you get is whodunit movie done wrong.
Basically, Jolie is an FBI agent who helps Montreal’s finest to catch a serial killer, Hawke, who takes identities of persons he kills. First of all I think casting is totally wrong and the actors were hopelessly unconvincing in their roles, especially Jolie who’s lack of acting skills keeps me asking myself are looks really all you need to make it in Hollywood. It feels like every one of the actors is overacting every single scene throughout the movie, especially Hawke.
Movie focuses on the Jolie – Hawke relationship rather than the process of taking over identities, cat-mouse plays between the police and the killer, profiling the killer (which is done in two sentences) troubled childhood and so on, which are all great plot making devices, and by doing so it losses it’s thriller aspects and becomes yet another whodunit movie.
So, failing to be a psychological thriller, the only thing that keeps you interested is curiosity whether this movie is so bad you knew the killer just after few scenes past by. And this is done by using all the cheap shots out there. Everything that drives the plot further is never shown to you. What you are shown are lies that imply that someone else did it but just by director’s choice, not because of the story, like the matchstick man that police officer Paquette plays with, unknown man under Martins bed, character of Kiefer Sutherland and so on. And then, at the end, flashbacks show you just where it was that the director of this abomination tricked you. Furthermore the movie is packed with clichés well known to a person who watched more than ten movies in his/her life. Here are some of them: police officer that hates other police officers from other police stations/cities/states; police officer which is therefore a suspect in viewers eyes; police officer grabbing killer’s lookalikes on the street just to discover it is not the killer; light gone out just as female lead is entering the basement; sex scene with the killer; scrubbing herself after the sex scene with the killer just after she finds out who the killer really is.
And after the killer escapes you think to yourself, for a brief second, seeing Angelina pregnant with twins – wow there might be one decent scene in this movie – he is gone and she is stuck with his unwanted children, without her job and this will not end well. But no, he has to come back to fight one last battle with her and to try to kill his unborn babies just seconds after he insists that they are in fact his children. And then you see him stab her in the stomach with huge scissors and you are again – wow am I seeing this in this kind of mindless movie. But no, the director pussy-outs, the stomach is fake just like everything else and it is yet another FUCK YOU AUDIENCE moment. Because you know he shown you her getting fired, carefully holding her stomach when she couldn’t possibly know is Hawke around or not, you hear him earlier in the movie saying how he came inside of her. But he left out one little thing – it is all staged. And how could she even know he was going to stab her when originally he was going for his trademarked choke to death move.
Anyway, that’s not all. The movie shamelessly drains from the success of Se7en using even similar lightening, credits in the beginning, involving a new character deep into the movie and so on.
Why this movie is not total and unforgiving piece of cinematic shit is very good usage of camera in exterior shots, decent gore moments, some good snapshots and one good jump scare, the scare that, now that I think about it, has nothing to do with the movie at all.
Taking Lives, the title that is referred to once during the movie, and so by saying it, at least does what its name imply. It takes lives, 1h 48m of it to be precise. And that would be just find if it wasn’t so pretentious, full of itself and full of plot holes, poorly directed and cut, plain stupid and above all insulting.

Taking Lives Reviews