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Taking Lives (DVD) (WS) (Unrated)
He would kill to be you. Angelina Jolie stars as FBI Special Agent Illeana Scott, hunting a murderer whom she believes takes both the lives--and assumes the identities--of his victims. But when an unexpected attraction sparks a romantic entanglement, the consummate specialist begins to doubt her finely honed instincts. Now, alone in an unfamiliar city, Agent Scott suddenly finds herself on a case that has become chillingly personal--surrounded by suspects . . . with no one she can trust . . . and a serial killer who is Taking Lives.]]>
More sex. More violence. That's what you get in the unrated director's cut of Taking Lives, which ought to tell you where director D.J. Caruso's priorities lie. The hot scenes between Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke are extended (offering a bit more nudity for Jolie's lecherous fans), and the fate of Gena Rowlands's character is considerably more graphic, but none of the added footage makes the movie any better or worse. That said, this cynical director's cut is the only version worth buying if you're looking to fill out your serial-killer-thriller collection (or your movies-in-which-Jolie-gets-naked collection), and you might as well enjoy the gag reel outtakes because they contain the only footage on the entire DVD in which Jolie cracks a genuine smile. The four featurettes are really just one standard-issue promo reel chopped into thematic categories with a pretentious CSI vibe, and while they offer little of substance, seasoned film buffs will welcome the appearance of veteran British editor Anne V. Coates, who briefly explains her approach to cutting high-tension scenes. The rest is routine at best, but given the choice between the full-screen DVD and this steamier, more gruesome widescreen version, well, it's no contest. Jolie and her breasts await you. --Jeff Shannon
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one is running from his own life and the other just running to find a life
they both meet on a bus ride out of town, one is running as far away as possible
the other is going wherever he can, after they both meet, one gets to know the other
very particularly, as the bus is going down the road and the 2 guys get to know each
other, the blows out on the bus, so it stops, one of the guys says , this happened on
another bus ride, and he notices they are close to a car rental place
they decide there not going to weight for the bus , so they get off the bus and go
to the rental place, one of the guys says he will rent a car, the man said, do you have cash?
no, but i have a credit card, can you read the sign, "CASH ONLY"
so,m the other guy says, i got cash, he pulls out his stack of money, more than enough
they rent the car and they are going down the road and the tire on the car blows
so the one with cash, "martin" that's driving car the car, apologizes for the tire blowing out
the other guy decides to fix the tire and as her is doing this , another car comes down the road
and martin decides, he this guy is my height and build, push him in front of the on coming car
it kills him and martin takes his wallet and his his life and changes his name as well
this is the main part of the show,. a man that kills and takes over there lives (identity)
anyway, the FBI gets involved with the police trying to find out who did this
they are having problems getting any results, so they call in a FBI profiler,
that profiler is (Angelina jolie)ileana she gets involved and they set up a sting to catch the guy they believe is the killer
the guy that told the police he seen the killer is mic'ed up so they can hear whATS GOING ON SO THEY CAN NAB THE KILLER
Angelina Jolie, as expected, turns in a great performance as an FBI special agent who arrives in Montreal to help investigators there solve a number of particularly horrendous murders. For the past 20+ years the killer has been continually reinventing himself, stealing the identities of his victims and all appears to be going his way until his mother (played by Gena Rowlands) recognizes him on a ferry.
There are several twists and turns in the movie to keep you guessing and decent action scenes (including a harrowing car chase, but a lot of these have been done before (and better) so there does not seem anything new or fresh about the movie. Another puzzling thing is the underuse of some fine actors (Rowlands, Keifer Sutherland and Tchecky Karyo), one would have expected better use and more screentime for these three.
But 'Taking Lives' is an enjoyable movie and fans of the suspense thriller genre will enjoy it. I recommend checking it out.
At least with "Taking Lives" you know that we are dealing with a cat and mouse game between a serial killer and the FBI profiler, Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie) trying to bring him to justice. The title of the film has a double meaning because not only does this killer take the lives of his victim, as in making them dead rather that alive, but he also takes over their lives, assuming their identities until he becomes bored and moves on to his next victim. That means that each of his victims is older than the previous ones, whose only real common denominator is that if and when they are found their identities are destroyed (e.g., hands are missing so no fingerprints).
At this point I must digress. The criminal trial of O.J. Simpson not only signaled the end of the paradigm by which science provided all answers, it gave common folk an education on DNA evidence. I can remember watching "Basic Instinct" and knowing that even the forensic lab for the L.A.P.D. would be able to figure out from all the fluids found on the murder scene at the start of the film that Sharon Stone had been there. So while watching "Taking Lives" I knew I was going to have to play along and pretend for the sake of the narrative that it is "easy" to make it impossible to identify a body. But then look at all the times movies and television shows have people still trying to beat a trace when the telephone in your home can tell you the number that is calling you before you pick up the phone.
The point is that movies like "Taking Lives" have their own internal logic. They are going to try and fool us as well as the main characters and so we expect that, which becomes part of the equation for trying to fool us. Part of the problem is that just because you are spinning through all the possible twists and turns the film might take you simply have to get some of them right by sheer luck. Ultimately the big question becomes what makes watching the more movie enjoyable for you: going along for the ride or getting ahead of the game?
This is actually a film where the hero might be more interesting than the villain. To be a good profiler you have to be able to think in the same demented ways as the killers you are tracking, and Illeana Scott is pretty good at that. When we first meeting her she is lying in an open grave. You first thought is that she is just weird, but then she comes up with a couple of insightful deep thoughts that impress the Montreal cops she is helping with the case (we know that a lot of movies are filmed in Canada because it is cheaper so it is interesting to see one that admits to being there and picks Quebec so that the supporting characters can have French-Canadian accents).
This is also one of those thrillers where the cop becomes emotionally involved with a witness, although with the gender reversals the femme fatale here is an art dealer named Costa (Ethan Hawke). He might actually have seen the killer, interrupting him during his latest attempt at murder, which would be a pretty big break. But the police also have another one when a Mrs. Asher (Gena Rowlands) show sup and insists that she has seen her son, who was supposedly killed in a traffic accident long ago and far away. After years of getting only bits and pieces of evidence, things are coming to a head pretty fast for Illeana.
There is always an attempt to give the cop in such stories additional personal burdens that come into play as they try to solve the crime. "The Silence of the Lambs" is certainly a classic example of where that works, and "Taking Lives" has the same aspirations. There is a nude scene involving Illeana and my daughter daughter asked if this was an old movie from earlier in Jolie's career as an explanation for why she was doing it, but the reason is that it speaks to the character she is playing. The fact that she has strengths and flaws is reinforced by the two Canadian cops she is working with, one of who respects her work and the other who dismisses her as causing problems; to some degree, both are right. The point here is not simply that in the end Illeana wins the game, but how she does so, which is the real purpose of the film's end game, and that our heroine can give as good as she gets.
D.J. Caruso has directed a stylish thriller, with a script by Jon Bokenkamp based on the novel by Michael Pye. I was surprised that this movie was only 109 minutes long (the director's cut is about six minutes longer than the theatrical release), because there is a lot happening in this film. This was rather surprising because there are lots of shots of Jolie's eyes as he character is thinking deep thoughts and putting together the pieces. So "Taking Lives" gets bonus points for being fast paced and we are back to the question of whether or not you will appreciate its twists and turns. I have to think that few veiwers will not appreciate at least going along for the ride.