Taking Lives (2004) Movie Review

Taking Lives (2004) Poster

Taking Lives (2004)

2004 | R | Thriller, Drama, Mystery, Crime
103 minutes / 1h 43min

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Taking Lives Plot Synopsis:

The film starts in the early 1980s. Young Martin Asher took a bus for Canada. He meets another teen on the bus, Matt Soulsby. When the bus broke down they decided to rent a car and drive to Seattle. On the road the car gets a flat tire, and Matt starts changing the tire. Martin comments on how he and Matt are about the same height, and in that moment he quickly pushes Matt in the way of an oncoming truck causing a huge accident where Matt and the driver both die. He took Matt's guitar and left singing like Matt did. Twenty years later, an FBI profiler, Illeana Scott comes to Canada to help hunt down the now serial killer Martin Asher who killed multiple men and lived by their identities. Martin's mother claims that she saw Martin in Quebec city and she tells the police that Martin is evil. The police also has an eyewitness James Costa who saw Asher kill his last victim...

Taking Lives (2004) Review

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.

  • Taking Lives Rating Scores
  • Our Score: 6
  • Overall Score: 4.74
  • IMDB: 6.2
  • MetaCritic: 3.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 2.2

About Taking Lives 2004

Title: Taking Lives
Year: 2004
Runtime: 103 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Mystery, Crime
Score: 3 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 2.37/5 stars from 72,605 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 72,605
MPAA Rating: R
Taking Lives Cast Starring: Shawn Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Christian Tessier, Paul Dano, Angelina Jolie, Andy Bradshaw, David Eisner, Marcel Jeannin, Freddy Bessa, Gena Rowlands, Olivier Martinez, Tchéky Karyo, Marie-Josée Croze, Tchéky Karyo, Marie-Josée Croze, Dominique Briand, Alex Sol, Sandra Campanelli, Martin Brisebois, Emmanuel Bilodeau, Gabriel Charland-Gagné, Nathalie Matteau, Steven Wallace Lowe, Hugh Probyn, Brett Watson, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Henri Pardo, Lois Dellar, Justin Chatwin
Taking Lives Writers: Michael Pye, Jon Bokenkamp
Taking Lives Director: D.J. Caruso
Box Office: $32,634,479
Production: Warner Bros.
Website: http://takinglives.warnerbros.com
Language: English, French
Country: USA