Thursday, August 2, 2012

Movie Review: Taking Lives

The title of the film Taking Lives (loosely based on the novel of the same name) is a play on words. The antagonist is a Canadian who finds a victim who resembles him physically, kills him (i.e. takes his life), and then assumes his identity (again, takes his life). Once that new life becomes boring (or when he's at risk of detection), he searches out a new victim. Several decades later, an FBI profiler (played by Angelina Jolie) travels to Montreal so she can help the Canadian law enforcement apprehend him.

My verdict: The film would've benefited from more exposition about the case. They just jump in and tell you that somehow they've figured out what is going on. There was also no point in setting it in Canada with an American as the main protagonist. Despite being edited for television (it was listed as TV-PG), it was still surprisingly violent. Philip Glass' score was atmospheric, but didn't quite jive right with the movie; the use of U2 songs was also incongruous. I guessed the major plot twist within minutes of the movie starting. It was just painfully clear.[1] The last ten minutes were an abrupt departure from the tone of the rest of the film and also felt particularly cliché given the subject material. For that matter, very few things about this movie felt fresh or original.

DISCLAIMER: I watched this film as edited for television. I have not seen the original R-rated version and cannot comment on its appropriateness.[2]


[1] And that means that Angelina Jolie's character wasn't a very good profiler—in fact, quite terrible. Certainly not good enough to export to Canada.

[2] For more info, I suggest you consult the reviews at and lives.html.

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