Taking Lives

Enjoyable, suspenseful thriller starring Angelina Jolie

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From its dream-like 1980s-set prologue when a vicious serial killer takes his first victim through to the deadly showdown in a snowbound cabin, Taking Lives is a consistently gripping crime thriller. The killer’s MO?stealing each victim’s identity to conceal his own?leaves stumped Montreal police little choice but to call in FBI profiler Angelina Jolie. But, unsure if Ethan Hawke is her prime witness or prime suspect, and isolated by Canada’s increasingly resentful cops, she begins to crack under the strain.

Director DJ Caruso (The Salton Sea) follows the usual cat-and-mouse game between Jolie and the killer as each try and lure the other into the open. He gives it a dark-hued ambience that recalls Seven, and pulls off a few seat-leaping shocks with genuine skill. But, importantly, he also concentrates on character with notable success. Jolie brings guilt and fear to her usual fieriness, and is matched by a jittery, sweaty Hawke. Finally, it delivers more than you’d think possible from its stale genre ingredients.

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