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Taking Lives

movie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Taking Lives

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke
Director: D.J. Caruso
Rated: R
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: March 2004
Genres: Action, Suspense


*Also starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Olivier Martinez, Gena Rowlands, Jean-Hughes Anglade, Paul Franklin Dano, Richard Jutras



Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie review
3.  Jerry Saravia read the review movie reviewmovie review
4.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewvideo review
5.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Harvey Karten
1 star out of 4

"Mothers of America," this film appears to say, "If you have more than one child, be sure to treat each equally. If you have twins, treat them as though they are conjoined. If any one of you who as much as gives one kid an ice cream without at least offering another to the sibling: your life is in danger."

"Taking Lives," is in every which way a conventional thriller given genre-friendly scenes, i.e. the killer refrains from executing a coup de grace against the good guy until the latter gets the drop on him; the hostility of a local detective (in this case, a Montreal officer) to an outsider who takes charge of an investigation; the obligatory sex scene, particularly if the lovey- dovey pair are an unlikely duo given the situation at hand; a few twists coupled with the director's playing with an audience with scares, whether faux or genuine; a cop who manifests a mentality not unlike the psycho killer's; and oh, a car chase with the necessary explosion; mangled bodies; etc.

There is little that's original in "Taking Lives," and even Philip Glass seems on autopilot with generic music rather than his signature, spooky vibes.

Filmed in Montreal under D.J. Caruso's direction, using Jon Bokenkamp's script from a Michael Pye novel, "Taking Lives" is about identity theft with extreme prejudice. The serial killer steals the credit cards and other marks of his murder victims, making sure that they are individuals without family ties, people who would not miss them if they disappeared which gives Pye's novel some of the resonance, but not the grace, wit, or irony of Joseph Kesselring's play "Arsenic and Old Lace." The city of Montreal enlists the help of FBI Special Agent Illeana (Angelina Jolie), which in good-cop, bad-cop fashion leads to the hostility of her new partner Paqeutte (Olivier Martinez) and the cooperation of Leclair (Tcheky Karyo). When Costa (Ethan Hawke), an artist by profession, turns up as an eyewitness to one of the murders even drawing an accurate sketch of the killer he is informally teamed up with Agent Illeana, a single woman who falls completely in lust with the sexy albeit effeminate young man.

Ethan Hawke does his best with a slight stutter, a kind of Bob Newhart lite, while Angelina Jolie waits for the appropriate to time to bear her bosom while wholly enraptured by her hots for this artist.

There is scarcely a scene in the movie that's believable nor does D.J. Caruso's by-the-numbers direction yield the slightest uniqueness of style.

Copyright 2004 Harvey Karten

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