‘Taking Lives’ Review : The cast compensates for the writing in this engaging thriller

Taking Lives (2004/ Netflix/ Crime Thriller)

This investigative thriller centres around a dangerous serial killer psychopath and the police chase to nab him down.

Director – D.J Caruso

Cast – Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Oliver Martinez, Kiefer Sutherland,Gena Rowlands, Jean Hugues Anglade, Tcheky Karyo


The story opens with a cold blooded murder. 

Years later, we see the police struggling with a spate of murders. 

In comes the maverick FBI investigator Scott (Jolie).

When the police thinks they are about to get close, the killer ups the game.


To be honest, the central theme of a serial killer is nothing new. It’s the intricate nuances, the sharpness of writing, the water tight screenplay and the performances that makes a difference. 

For this film, the cast was the biggest lure. Angelina Jolie who, by now, seems to have mastered the art of playing an agent with her kick ass portrayals, was the biggest lure for me. Of course Ethan Hawke and Oliver Martinez being in the list also added up.

Angelina rules the frames as the investigator with a razor sharp observation, a keen sense of deciphering and some really unusual methodology. As always, she’s a pleasure to watch. Ethan Hawke whom I have seen in a vastly different role and film( Maudie) is impressive too. He plays his hard-to- interpret and shaded character well.

The suspense, the leads and mis-leads, the two central characters and the actors playing them keep you hooked. The screenplay, despite its shortcomings kept me engrossed.

I only wish the writing was as sharp as Agent Scott’s skills. Loopholes prevented the film from soaring despite a good cast and a premise with potential. I mean what couldn’t you do with a cast like that and a dangerous killer with no qualms.

The background score though great music wise, was always at loggerheads with the mood of the scene and a big mismatch. The accents were a dampener.

I might have listed out quite a many flaws but the film actually keeps you thoroughly engaged even though you keep wishing it be a lot better than what it was .They try their level best to throw you offtrack but most of you would turn out smarter than the investigating team handling the case. Of course they had reasons to go off-scent.

Not one of the best in the genre but it’s an enjoyable and engrossing thriller.

If you can take the flaws in your stride, the cast, story, characters and Angelina Jolie will make it worth your time.

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