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"TAKING LIVES"
(2004) (Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Extreme Extreme Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Mild Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Moderate Mild Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: An FBI profiler tries to crack the mystery behind a serial killer who not only murders his victims, but also then assumes their identities.
PLOT:
Illeana Scott (ANGELINA JOLIE) is a top FBI profiler who's been called to Montreal by police director Hugo Leclair (TCHEKY KARYO) to work on a serial murder case where the perpetrator not only kills his victims, but also assumes their identities. Working with local detectives Joseph Paquette (OLIVIER MARTINEZ) and Emil Duval (JEAN-HUGHES ANGLADE) who aren't happy to have an outsider on their turf, the team has several leads.

One is Rebecca Asher (GENA ROWLANDS) who claims she's just seen her son, Martin (KIEFER SUTHERLAND), on a ferry despite him supposedly being killed nearly twenty years ago. Even better is art dealer James Costa (ETHAN HAWKE) who saw the killer in action and has supplied Scott with a sketch of him. As Scott uses all of that along with her honed skills and intuition, she tries to crack the case, all while Costa appears to be the killer's next target.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or suspense/thrillers revolving around serial killers, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong violence including disturbing images, language and some sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
To avoid giving away any late surprises and developments, only some of the character attributes are noted here.
  • ANGELINA JOLIE plays an FBI profiler who's been asked to help crack a serial murder case. She uses some strong profanity, has sex with James, and tries to identify and then outwit the killer.
  • ETHAN HAWKE plays a local art dealer who reportedly witnessed the killer in action and now appears to be his next target. He uses strong profanity, has sex with Illeana and smokes.
  • TCHEKY KARYO plays the local police director who asks for Scott's help on the case and uses brief strong profanity.
  • OLIVIER MARTINEZ plays a local detective who works with Scott but isn't nice to her or pleased that she's working on his case. He uses some strong profanity and hits her in one scene.
  • JEAN-HUGHES ANGLADE plays his more reserved detective partner.
  • GENA ROWLANDS plays the killer's standoffish mother who may or may not know what's occurring. She smokes once.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this suspense/thriller that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 18 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually related dialogue (some of it explicit) is present as is a passionate sexual encounter with nudity (bare breasts), movement and sounds. Male frontal nudity (seen from the side and a distance) is twice seen in autopsy photos.

    Other such photos show bloody, gory and disturbing images of mutilated bodies, while the real thing (including views of a recently exhumed and decomposed body) is also seen. Violence consists of several killings by various means, along with other harsh physical contact, some of which has rather bloody results. Those scenes, some "jump" ones, and other standard "don't go in there" moments may be disturbing, tense or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some drink and/or smoke. Some brief, tense family material is also present. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are several rather shaky and jumpy handheld camera moments.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs in a scene set on a train (with some near strobe like results).


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A guy young Martin meets says, "I'll drink to that" and pulls out beer for Martin and himself. Later, we see the two in a rental car and both are drinking (while Martin drives).
  • We see an empty martini glass (with olives still in it) by Rebecca.
  • Illeana sees a note that James is to have drinks with a man. We then see him in a bar where others drink. The bartender asks if James wants another and he nervously states he does.
  • Leclair asks Illeana how many times she was asked out for drinks while at the FBI Academy (she says many but that she never went).
  • Various people drink at an art gallery reception.
  • We hear that someone is a drug addict.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A guy shows young Martin one of his teeth lying on his tongue, but then indicates it's a fake.
  • We see a brief shot of a very bloody guy inside a truck wreck as well as some blood on the face of a man who was struck by the truck (as well as blood on the road around him).
  • We see some brief black and white stills of murder victims during the opening credits.
  • A body is unearthed in a construction site by heavy machinery (it looks dirty and somewhat decomposed).
  • We see various close-up shots of wounds and mutilations on a body.
  • We briefly see a color photo of a badly mutilated face (that Illeana stares at during her day, including while eating).
  • James has some blood stains on his long-sleeved shirt.
  • We briefly see color photos of mangled and bloody faces.
  • We see a severed finger and then a dead body with blood on its face.
  • We briefly see color photos of mangled and bloody faces.
  • We see several shots of a recently exhumed but rather decomposed body on an autopsy table.
  • We briefly see more color photos of mangled and bloody faces.
  • We hear the sound of shots and then see a dead cop on the floor with some blood around him.
  • A person's head is bloody following a car accident.
  • A person stitches up James's arm, but we don't see the actual contact yet.
  • Illeana discovers blood on her face and side and then races back to her bed where she finds a lot of blood on it and James (but we then see that it's from the stitches on his arm).
  • We see an open wound on James's arm as it's being stitched up again. We also see a syringe needle go into that wound (that causes James pain).
  • A mother looks at what she believes is her son's badly burned body.
  • A woman finds herself in an elevator with the killer. Illeana races to get to the elevator, then discovers them, and sees that the man has killed the woman (she has blood on her head and he has blood on his hands). Illeana then finds the killer's bloody clothes.
  • We see blood stains (from above) on some bed sheets.
  • A man has blood on his clothing after being stabbed.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Paquette has a bad attitude toward Illeana from the get-go (thinking she's moving in on his detective turf).
  • The serial killer obviously has an extremely bad attitude.
  • When a cop says that his wife sank while swimming, the other jokes that "with t*ts like that" he's surprised.
  • Illeana illegally enters Rebecca's house to look around.
  • Paquette slaps Illeana quite hard across the face for sleeping with someone.
  • The killer refers to someone as "faggy."
  • A man is quite violent with a woman who appears to be pregnant, eventually stabbing her abdomen with a pair of scissors.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" might also be unsettling, suspenseful or tense to some viewers.
  • Illeana and Paquette slowly enter a room with their guns and flashlights drawn. They then slowly make their way through it, including Paquette slowly approaching a running shower and then pulling the curtain back.
  • Illeana slowly makes her way through a house, finds a secret stairwell into the dark basement and then looks around there, even lying down on a small, dirty bed (as we hear childhood-like screams on the soundtrack).
  • For those sensitive to such matters, we see a coffin being exhumed from a grave (and then see the decomposed body on a morgue table).
  • A nervous James waits in a crowded bar as bait for the killer. He then finds a note telling him to meet the writer in the bathroom. As James goes there, we learn that the hidden microphone he's wearing isn't working properly and he goes into the bathroom, slowly opening each stall door.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Scissors/Piano wire: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • The killer confronts Illeana in her home and shows that he's discovered her hidden guns (we see two).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cking psycho," "F*ckers," "F*cking mob scene out there," "For f*ck's sakes," "What the f*ck..." "Piece of sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Art is sh*t," "No sh*t," "This (totally) sucks," "I'm an idiot," "You gotta be freaking kidding me," "Pissed off," "What the hell is going on?" "Freak out," "Crazy old bat," "Bastard," "Loser" and "Faggy."
  • Young Martin drinks while driving.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A body suddenly swings down from a ceiling.
  • A hand suddenly bursts up through a small bed and grabs Illeana.
  • A hand suddenly reaches out and grabs James's arm.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 18 "f" words (1 in subtitles and 2 used sexually), 7 "s" words, 2 slang terms for breasts (variations of "t*t," 1 in subtitles), 2 hells and 1 use each of "Christ," "Oh God" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Illeana states that there's a sexual element to the killer's modus operandi and that the tactile element of manhandling his victims turns him on.
  • From the side and a distance, we see a nude male body (dead) lying on a morgue table (the shape of his genitals is seen, but not in detail).
  • When a cop says that his wife sank while swimming, the other jokes that "with t*ts like that" he's surprised.
  • From the side, we see Illeana in a bathtub, but due to the camera angle and the position of her arms, we don't see anything explicit.
  • In a small photo, we see a distant side shot of male full frontal nudity of a dead man lying on a morgue table.
  • There's some sexual tension between Illeana and James.
  • James shows up at Ileana's place. There's heavy breathing between the two and he opens her shirt or robe, exposing her bare breasts. As they passionately kiss, he then pulls her leg up along his side and there's thrusting up against the wall and then on a table where he lies on top of her (we see one of her bare legs along his side, along with more views of her bare breasts). We see them together in bed the next morning (under the sheets).
  • The "f" word is used sexually.
  • After a woman tells a man, "F*ck you," the man says, "F*ck you? I did f*ck you" and then talks about making love to her, stating, "Coming inside you was the best moment of my life."
  • A woman appears to be pregnant months after a sexual encounter.
  • SMOKING
  • James smokes several times, the killer smokes a few times, Rebecca smokes once and some minor and miscellaneous characters smoke in several scenes.
  • A man tries to get cigarettes from a vending machine and the killer then hands him a pack.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Rebecca states that although she thought her son died 19 years ago, she believes she just saw him on a ferry. He later confronts her.
  • Rebecca tells Illeana that her other son drowned when he was 14.
  • A mother looks at what she believes is her son's badly burned body.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Serial killers.
  • Homicide detective work.
  • Ileana's comment that psychopaths show no emotional reaction to unsavory material that affects normal people.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Young Martin pushes a guy (who's changing a flat tire) into the path of a quickly approaching truck. The guy slams into the windshield and is flipped through the air, while the truck goes out of control, crashing and flipping down the road. Martin sees that the truck driver is dead and then finds the badly injured man he pushed. He then takes a large rock, lifts it over his head and slams it down onto the guy's head (we see the motion and hear the sound, but don't see the impact).
  • A hand suddenly bursts up through a small bed and grabs Illeana. A man then comes out from under the bed and the two struggle with some kicking and Illeana hitting her head.
  • James, Illeana and others spot the killer at a reception. The killer then runs toward a large, plate glass window, grabs another man and pushes him through the glass to escape. A foot chase then follows with Illeana and others after the killer who pushes people out of his way.
  • We see the killer in James' place who violently tosses a chair and then grabs James by the throat, choking him. James knees him in the crotch and then runs to get his gun, but when he pulls the trigger, it doesn't fire. The killer then punches James.
  • A cop rushes in to see the killer struggling with James on the floor.
  • We hear the sound of shots and then see a dead cop on the floor with some blood around him.
  • There's a car chase that ends with both cars crashing. Two of the three people are okay (other than a cut on one's arm that's seen later) but the third appears to be dead and is bloody. Their car then explodes.
  • A woman finds herself in an elevator with the killer. Illeana races to get to the elevator, then discovers them, and sees that the man has killed the woman (she has blood on her head and he has blood on his hands).
  • Police kick open a door.
  • Paquette slaps Illeana quite hard across the face for sleeping with someone.
  • It's implied that the killer murders another man.
  • We see flashback images of a punch and the killer shooting two people.
  • Illeana purposefully breaks a mirror.
  • A man backhands a pregnant woman, throws her to the floor on her belly and then kicks her on the floor (the latter impact is not seen). He then wraps something like piano wire around her neck, hoping just to render her unconscious. She gets free, grabs a pair of scissors and repeatedly jabs them at him, apparently hitting his hand (no blood). He then grabs her, has his arm around her neck and stabs the scissors into her pregnant belly (SPOILER NOTICE: See below at your own risk of ruining the surprise).
  • She then takes the scissors and jams them into his chest, killing him.

    SPOILER ALERT: She's faking the pregnancy.




  • Reviewed March 15, 2004 / Posted March 19, 2004

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