|Taking Lives (2004)
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Olivier Martinez
Director: D.J. Caruso
Apparently, Ashley Judd was too busy playing her customary FBI chick in “Twisted” to fill in for the trashy “Taking Lives,” a lukewarm cop thriller that crosses no boundaries and offers fewer surprises.
Angelina Jolie takes the role instead as Agent Illeana Scott, a criminal profiler called in by the French-Canadian police to help track down a serial killer responsible for 20 years of murders, which he’s covered up by assuming his victims’ identities. When the latest body is discovered at a local construction site, a witness (Ethan Hawke) comes forward to help identify the man he saw commit the murder. Detective Paquette (Olivier Martinez), a French-Canadian who despises the American agent, works alongside her to capture their suspect, played with a calm shadiness by Kiefer Sutherland.
The film follows the usual step-by-step process of any cop thriller, but in this case, there just aren’t very many steps. The plot is cut-and-dry, revealing its own weaknesses in the simplicity of the mystery, which the audience can easily solve within the first half-hour. There are absolutely no surprises here and none of the red herrings are worked to their full potential, always undermined by the audience’s obvious choice for the film’s real villain.
“Taking Lives” is a D-grade film led by an A-list cast displaying their absolute worst. Don’t be charmed by Angelina Jolie’s luscious lips and Ethan Hawke’s boyish good looks; the only thing they’ll be taking is your time and money.