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Taking Lives

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Early on, some aspects of D.J. Caruso's film -- all that moody lighting, plus super-close-ups and sulky cops -- suggest that there might be an entertaining and visually interesting thriller in the making. Montreal is beset with a series of ritualized murders, and the authorities bring in an FBI profiler (Angelina Jolie). She's got a freaky side -- she lies in the victim's grave and sleeps with gruesome crime-scene photos -- and finds herself drawn to a nervous witness (Ethan Hawke). Of course, one hot weird American chick is smarter than 100 Canadian cops; she susses out pretty quickly that the killer is "life-jacking," assuming the lives of his victims. She skips over the obvious homoerotic aspects of the killings and by mid-film, Caruso drops that intriguing angle entirely, opting for a gratuitous boob shot, car chases and a highly implausible conclusion. Keifer Sutherland has a thankless role as a mere shadow, French cutie Olivier Martinez as a local cop pouts, and grande dame Gena Rowlands plays a ... grande dame. There's some undercurrents of messiness -- the culpability of motherhood, women undone by sexual desire, men who just want to be other men so completely -- but the film doesn't stretch any further than being a Seven et al. retread. two cameras

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