Taking Lives (2004)

2004 | R | Thriller, Mystery, Crime

User Score: 76/100


An FBI profiler is called in by French Canadian police to catch a serial killer who takes on the identity of each new victim.

Taking Lives (2004) is an American psychological thriller movie that was loosely adapted from Michael Pye‘s novel, Taking Lives (1999). Director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia (2007), I Am Number Four (2011), Eagle Eye (2008)) excelled at executing this FBI pursuing a serial killer movie. The film kept me guessing throughout with most of my guesses being wrong and the ending was a shocker that most fans would not see coming. FBI chasing serial killer theme has been done so many times, but this movie stands out from the rest because it flows well together with a few blemishes, plot holes, and great suspense. The movie contains extreme violence, bad language, nudity, graphic sexual scenes, suspense, thrills, romance, a psychotic serial killer that will kill his mother if he has too and gore.

Martin Asher (Paul Dano - Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Looper (2012), Prisoners (2013), Ruby Sparks (2012)) is a teenager in Canada in the early 1980s. Martin is at the bus station and appears to be hesitant and does not know where he wants to go. Martin met teenager Matt Soulsby (Justin Chatwin - War of the Worlds (2005), The Invisible (2007), Dragonball: Evolution (2009), Shameless (2011)) on the bus and discusses their future plans. The duo encounters one problem after the next after the bus broke down, and I did not see what was about to happen. Martin’s other side is revealed as he kicks Matt onto oncoming traffic. The movie skips forward to twenty years later where Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie - Maleficent (2014), Changeling (2008), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Salt (2010)) is an FBI profiler. Illeana is helping the Canadian law enforcement in Montreal to find and arrest Asher. Asher is a serial killer that has been killing people who are by themselves/with not much family for several years and taking their identity. The movie became interesting when I saw Martin’s mother (Gena Rowlands - The Notebook (2004), The Skeleton Key (2005), Night on Earth (1991), Paulie (1998)) seeing her son on a ferry to Quebec City. Mrs. Asher informed the officers that she saw her very dangerous son on the ferry and her son died 19 years ago. Authorities exhumed Mrs. Asher’s son to perform an autopsy.

Illeana and her team meets with salesman James Costa (Ethan Hawke - Gattaca (1997), Before Sunset (2004), Training Day (2001), Before Sunrise (1995)) who witnessed Asher murdering his last victim. Illeana provided protection for James because he is the next one on Asher’s hit list. It did not take long to see Illeana and James having feelings for each other although Illeana refuses to let her feelings get in the way of her job. Asher gains control and kidnaps James leading Illeana on a chase. It did not take long for Asher to be believed dead after James saw him in a deadly car accident that no one can survive. The case on Asher was closed, and Illeana had an intimate night with James. I loved all of the twists on the movie and did not see all the turns it took. Illeana wakes up the next morning to find her body covered in James’ blood, fired from her FBI job and seven months pregnant with twin baby boys. I did not predict the ending of the movie and thought it was the ultimate trap anyone can do.

Angelina Jolie did a remarkable convincing acting job with her performance, and Ethan Hawke did not do so well with his role as he appears to overact and not give a realistic performance. Kiefer Sutherland fans should know that he does not have much screen time. I gave this movie a six because crime fans should watch this movie as it offers new scenes that involve different situations from other movies of its kind. The action scenes were the best and was captured well. The makeup department and editorial department did an awesome job as well.

About Taking Lives (2004)

Title: Taking Lives
Year: 2004
Starring: Shawn Roberts, Christian Tessier, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Angelina Jolie, Andy Bradshaw, Tchéky Karyo, Justin Chatwin, Alex Sol, Gena Rowlands, Paul Dano, Vince Grant, Marcel Jeannin, Freddy Bessa, Olivier Martinez, David Eisner, Marie-Josée Croze, Fabiano Amato, Judith Baribeau, Anne Marineau, Eugenio 'Kiko' Osorio, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Jesus Alejandro Nino, André Lacoste, Lisandro Martinez, Billy Two Rivers, Sandra Campanelli, Richard Lemire, Emmanuel Bilodeau, Julien Poulin
Director: D.J. Caruso
Score: 3 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 3.75/5 stars from 29 users. Votes: 29.
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime
MPAA Rating: R

Taking Lives Cover Poster Art