Taking Lives: Unrated Directors Cut Version
He would kill to be you
Running Time: 109 minutes
US Certificate: Unrated UK Certificate: 15
Country: Canada, United States
Somewhere in Montreal, a serial killer is somewhat cheekily nicking his victims identities after bumping them off. Thats the simple premise behind Taking Lives, a dark thriller that promises much but delivers little.
It stars clothes-hating hottie Angelina Jolie as crack (arf!) FBI profiler Ileana Scott who, much to the chagrin of the grumpy French-Canadian investigators already on the case, is drafted in to assist with the investigation. She reckons shes got things figured out when, with the help of key witness Costa (Ethan Hawke), she narrows the suspects down to the background-lurking figure of Hart (Kiefer Sutherland, saying so little in the film that you half-suspect the producers didnt fancy having to pay him very much).
Make no bones about it, this is a movie aching to be the new Se7en. Its dark, grimy, has similar subject matter, and seems to grow self-consciously more grisly as it moves on. Hell, even the opening titles are reminiscent of David Finchers superior thriller
Unfortunately, it just makes far too many errors to be thought of in such company. Jolies character starts off as a tough, troubled and intelligent investigator who has her own methods and is street-smart enough to handle the men who resent her but, as the film progresses, she actually appears to grow in stupidity, to the point where I actually found myself wondering whether one of the parts left out of this Unrated Directors Cut (it says unrated, but its actually a 15) involves her having a full frontal lobotomy. Much of the plot just doesnt make any credible sense, such as the point where our killer has clearly gotten away with it, yet decides to carry out a further murder in a building chock-full of FBI and police who all recognise him. And then theres the obligatory twists, the first of which is among the most predictable Ive ever seen (and I dare say a few of you will be able to guess what it is simply by reading this review).
The films been slated in many quarters, perhaps a little unfairly in some cases. Its far from the worst thriller Ive ever seen, but its certainly no better than mediocre. The most frustrating thing about it for me is that the idea behind it is actually quite a good one: the killers a human hermit crab, moving from one body to the next and out-foxing the police each time. I only wish those involved could have put a little more thought and perhaps injected a little more talent into making it work.
It's Got: An extra-large helping of Jolies trademark nudity not that Im complaining.
It Needs: To have made Kiefer Sutherland work for his money.
DVD Extras A Crime Lab documentary, a trailer and, bizarrely, a gag reel showing cast bloopers accompanied by some ridiculously jolly music. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10
Think of it as a combination of Se7en without the shocks and Angelina Jolie without her clothes.