Taking Lives (2004) – Review

Starting in the 1980’s, a young man is seen meeting and consequently killing a teenager before taking the identity of his victim – the FBI are sworn in by the French Canadian police in an attempt to catch this eventual serial killer, who continues to cause havoc in the region. Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie) must do her best to track down and stop the killer while also faced with emotional challenges too. This murder mystery film has recently appeared on Netflix and is certainly worth the watch.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Director: D.J. Caruso
Writers: Michael Pye, Jon Bokenkamp
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Olivier Martinez, Kiefer Sutherland

It’s not too often I scroll through Netflix and see a film pop up from the early 2000’s that I’ve never heard of it, but that’s exactly what happened when I came across Taking Lives. On the surface, the movie seemed extremely promising with a premise strong enough to potentially keep your interest and full attention from start to finish. As far as murder mystery’s go, this certainly had more strengths than weaknesses, but at the same time could be regarded as predictable in patches.

In terms of the story, it was as simple and straight forward as many thrillers come. The filmmakers didn’t really create the movie with a desire to confuse the viewer at all, and dare I say, there were even one or two twists and turns that were somewhat expected and a little predictable in nature, as touched upon earlier. Some would say that this let the film down in general, but in my opinion, it still managed to provide a good amount of entertainment, along with the occasional surprise too.

Another aspect of the film that seemed to stand out to me was the shock element of certain scenes and moments of the flick. For sure, this wasn’t a scary movie, but there were certainly moments that would shock any casual viewer and make them sit up and take note of what they’d witnessed.

In terms of the casting choices, they seemed pretty solid and respectable throughout. Angelina Jolie managed to spearhead the film successfully, portraying Illeana Scott, a smart, likeable, FBI worker that never really carried any arrogant or unlikeable tendencies at all, while Ethan Hawke starred alongside Olivier Martinez is a pretty prominent support role. Elsewhere, there were even appearances from Kiefer Sutherland and Paul Dano, who probably didn’t get the screen time they deserved.

On the whole, Taking Lives had a really dark and dull cinematic feel to it. Whether it was the unlikeable characters and the lack of trust they depicted, or rain-soaked setting, the filmmaker managed to successfully convey a sinister vibe with ease. If you’re sustainable to a fairly impressive thriller that involves a high amount of crime and murder then I’d definitely recommend this one.

Everything you saw I wanted you to see.

Illeana Scott – Taking Lives

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