Taking Lives (2004)

(In theaters, April 2004) Familiarity breeds contempt, they say, and that’s a large part of why this is such an unsatisfying film. Local issues first: The film supposedly takes place in Montréal, but then switches back and both between Montréal and Québec City. Whaaa? Then there’s the European-French accents of the supposedly French-Canadian actors (even though they end up speaking English to each other most of the time. What’s up with that?) and a pretty damn poor use of local landmarks. Few of this is likely to make an impression on non French-Canadian viewers, but you can bet that the film’s credibility is nil in Quebec. Still, it doesn’t take a francophone to dislike the film: the bad script will do that by itself, from a tepid development to a “twist” that is simultaneously predictable and senseless. You have probably seen enough serial killer thrillers already; this one brings nothing new to the genre (including the dumb “taking lives” premise, so full of holes that it’s a wonder one built a script around it) The last act is especially tedious, as there are few surprises left in store and the last remaining jolt is a shock moment more than a honest twist. Fans of Angelina Jolie will get to see her naked, but even that is no great novelty. This should have been a straight-to-video release.

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