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Taking Lives: Director's Cut [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Director's cut of this dark and moody thriller starring Angelina Jolie as FBI Special Agent Illeana Scott, a specialist in criminal profiling whose unconventional approach and offbeat methods belie her professionalism and reputation for accuracy. She is assigned to join a team of detectives in Montreal, Canada, who are investigating the case of a serial killer who assumes the lives and identities of his victims. But the team resent her abilities and cool demeanour, and as the case unfolds her increasing isolation leads her to find comfort and intimacy in a very dangerous place...
A psychological thriller, Taking Lives is the story of an FBI agent who becomes involved with her key witness while tracking a prolific serial killer who assumes the lives and identities of the people he kills. She finds herself surrounded by numerous suspects and no one to trust.
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Set in Canada, an elusive serial killer is on the loose, a man who is ruthlessly murdering each victim, and then sets out assuming their identities. An FBI profiler (Angelina Jolie) is called in by French Canadian police to catch the villain, and a game of cat-and-mouse follows. It all sounded promising, and the potential was there, but I was left feeling a little disappointed.
'Taking Lives' is ultimately more forgettable than it is memorial, and unless you're a Angelina Jolie super fan, I don't think it deserves repeated viewings. Despite receiving star (third) billing, the great Kiefer Sutherland is reduced to nothing more than a cameo, appearing only towards the end of the movie as a creepy suspect. There are a few 'jumpy' moments throughout, but the film, though not terrible, has very little to write home about. If only it had stuck to the story, remained believable, and not tried to complicate things, it would have been a much better watch.
Special features on the disc include a documentary, footage which wasn't seen in UK cinemas, and a gag reel.
Ethan Hawke is a very versatile actor who is never below par, watch him in Tape, then Sinister, then The Magnificent Seven, then What Doesn't Kill You, then Training Day, then Gattaca, then Lord Of War for example. In this one he plays again a different character to all of the above.
The first review I read was a "top reviewer" who seemed to have quite an infatuation with Angelina Jolie, I don't think she's that pretty I suggest he goes and watches something starring Olga Kurylenko to cure his obsession - anyway he among others says that the twists in Taking Lives are predictable, but I didn't think so, it's a cleverly handled plot and the presence of Ethan Hawke and to a lesser extent Angelina Jolie, carry it all off well.
So I recommend it wholeheartedly and say ignore people that weren't impressed and watch with an open mind.
The film starts really well. Delivering a shock that makes you sit up and take watch right from the start. But that might have been an exception for me, as I had no idea about what type of film this was, or what it was about; because I was watching this back off the V+ harddrive. I'd recorded it over Christmas and have only just got around to watching it. Anyway, after the initial shock the credits start to role and I saw name after name pop up - Jolie, Sutherland, Hawke - excellent, I thought.
The film all in all is OK. Jolie - of course is stunning to look at and (at the risk of alienating female readers of my review) theres a small sex scene which should keep the averga fellow happy too. But other than this there's not much of note in this run-of-the-mill serial killer thriller.
The twist are fairly obvious, the story OK but still mediocre and the characters felt a little disjointed - namely the Canadian detective and another key figure, who shall remain namless for fear of spoiling things for you.
The film delivers a few good jumps, but in the end you're left with a few lose ends - nothing too serious - but they're there. In the end Taking lives was a good choice to record off the TV, had I watched it at the time, I'd have been quite chuffed as it's a good film to watch on TV; anythings better than the endless repeats and the films that seemed to get aired again, and again, and again. But I'm not sure it's really worth buying.
I haven't seen the extended version, or director's cut, or whatever it is advertised here - but overall I think I'll give this 3 stars. It came close to getting 4, but in the end - other than Angelina Jolie - it lacks that WOW! factor.
If this review was helpful to you at all please give it the thumbs up. Thanks :-)
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