Taking Lives Movie Poster Image

Taking Lives

(i)

 

A couple of genuine thrills but not for kids.
  • Review Date: August 16, 2004
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence

Intense and graphic violence, many murders, grisly dead bodies. Scary stuff.

Sex

Sexual references and a sexual situation including nudity.

Language

Some very strong language, including anti-gay insult.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an R-rated thriller with intense and graphic violence. There are graphic injuries and grisly dead bodies, including some decomposed and one badly burned, plus a severed finger and a bloody wound. There are many tense scenes with characters in peril and one (apparently) especially horrific injury. Characters drink, smoke, and use strong language. There are sexual references and a sexual situation including nudity.

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What's the story?

In TAKING LIVES, Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie) is an FBI profiler who immerses herself in her cases. She eats alone in an elegant hotel room, staring at photos of crime scenes and corpses, and getting as up close and personal at murder scenes in order to solve crimes. Scott is brought in by the Canadian police to help them solve a murder linked to other killings, probably the work of a man who kills men his age and size and then takes over their lives until it is time to move on to the next, "like a hermit crab -- he outgrows one body and starts looking for a new one." The only witness is Costa (Ethan Hawke), an artist preparing for a big show. Illeana is not sure whether to trust him, arrest him, or fall for him. But is what draws her to him the part of her that understands killers?

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Jolie's character is inconsistently conceived here, forcing her to take on almost as many personalities as the killer, cool professional, tomboy feminist, girlish romantic, and nesting loner. She has to be tough and vulnerable as the whims of the script demand, and that takes some of the steam out of the story.

But director D.J. Caruso and a strong cast make the best of the potboiler material, creating a nicely creepy atmosphere and knowing when to surprise the audience with a shock -- or a laugh -- to release the tension. So if you don't try to make it all make sense, you might find it to be a thriller with a couple of genuine thrills.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what a profiler of serial killers might have in common with the killers to be profiled, a theme also explored in the Hannibal Lecter books by Thomas Harris.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 12, 2004
DVD release date:August 16, 2004
Cast:Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland
Director:D.J. Caruso
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Thriller
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence including disturbing images, language and some sexuality

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