Taking Lives

FBI Agent Angelina Jolie hunts a psycho killer in this suspense-free thriller

Director: D.J. Caruso

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland

Website: http://takinglives.warnerbros.com/

Plot Summary: FBI agent Illeana Scott (Jolie) is called in by Montreal police to help with a murder. Soon she finds herself on the trail of a psychopathic killer with a special gift for adopting other people's identities.

A Silence of the Lambs cash-in 13 years after the fact, Taking Lives fails the first test that any whodunit thriller must pass: It totally lacks suspense.

From the opening sequence onward, you're left in little doubt who the killer is, and the introduction of a couple of red herrings midway through the film comes too late to distract the audience's attention from the glaringly obvious.

Without this element of unpredictability, the film flounders.

Angelina Jolie is undeniably gorgeous but beauty alone isn't enough to carry a film. We've seen or read about this sort of plucky female investigator and her ability to get inside the heads of psychopaths a dozen times before and, apart from a magnificent pair of, er, lips, Jolie brings little new to the role.

Ethan Hawke, an actor who always seems to be lumbered with the roles that Matt Damon isn't available for, does well with an edgy role but is strait-jacketed by the plot's failings while Kiefer Sutherland, billed third, gets limited screen time.

Apart from a racy sex scene involving Jolie towards the end of the movie, the most interesting aspect of the film is its setting.

The French-Canadian accents and picturesque streets of Montreal and Quebec City make a pleasant change from more familiar North American settings. (Oddly, the Michael Pye novel that Taking Lives is based on takes place mostly in Europe, and never sets foot in Canada.)

Those lips and that location aren't enough, however, to make Taking Lives work as a film.

The result is a slow, predictable trawl through various psycho-thriller clichés that, by its end, feels like it's taken far more than 103 minutes of your life.

PTV Rating: 2 out of 5

Czech Premiere: April 22nd, 2004
Czech Title: Zloděj životů ("Thief of Lives")
Czech Classification: 12
Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Video on YouTube

Related articles

  • Abel Ferrara at Febiofest by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Raymond Johnston)

    The cult New York director has relocated to Italy and embraced Buddhism

  • Movie Review: The Bye Bye Man by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    An attempt at creating a new horror series offers nothing new

  • Movie Review: Life by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Lifeless drama on the International Space Station copies too much from other films

  • Febiofest tickets go on sale by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    The biggest film festival in the Czech Republic starts March 23

  • Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    A new live action version from Disney clears up some plot points but takes few risks

  • Movie Review: Masaryk by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Biopic of the Czech politician is likely more meaningful for a local audience

  • Movie Review: Kong: Skull Island by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Bigger is necessarily better in this rather one-dimensional reboot of King Kong

  • Masaryk wins big at Czech Lions by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Český lev - Karel Roden with Ana Geislerova)

    The biopic about the Czech politician took a record number of awards

  • Bulgarian Film Festival starts by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Films will be at Lucerna and Evropský dům cinemas

  • Movie Review: Logan by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    An aging Wolverine is at the heart of a surprisingly introspective action film

Facebook comments

Sapa trip

Take a guided tour to Sapa, Prague’s “Little Vietnam”

American Pub Bejzment Lesnická

Finest Burgers - American Quality - NEW Location - Lesnická...

Craft House Prague

27 taps with excellent craft beers and ciders in the center...

Toboga Prague

Kids Indoor Playground in Prague 5, OC Zlicin


Send cash around the world in minutes with no bank account...

Antik Bílá Hora

Antiques, collectibles and more ...

REal Advice

Expats do you find the Prague real estate market...

Altos Aesthetic Medical Clinic

It is great to be beautiful, yet it is even greater to be...


Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…


Expat and Czech Business Professional Network


Deutschsprachiges Informationsportal