Taking Lives (2004)

While not perfectly a fit into the giallo, Taking Lives does have a heroine who gets involved with the killer, a Phillip Glass score and the changing identity of the killer having a central part of the story.

D.J. Caruso has some interesting films like Disturbia and The Salton Sea to his credit — we’ll ignore I Am Number Four and XXX: Return of Xander Cage — and this time, he’s telling the story of Martin Asher, a serial killer who assumes the identity of life of each victim he kills.

FBI Agent Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie) has traveled to Montreal to get treated poorly by male cops and help solve the case. She soon discovers that Martin felt unloved and in the shadow of a twin brother, whose death pushed him into madness. In the childhood home of the killer, she finds a passageway that reveals Martin’s special room, a place in which she’s attacked by someone who runs before she can catch him. Her only lead comes from art dealer James Costa (Ethan Hawke), who was a witness to Asher’s last murder. And, as these things happen, the two engage in naked investigative action while surrounded by murder photos and James bleeding everywhere from stitches he needed after his latest run-in with Asher.

It’s not all that simple, of course.

Wait — where’s Kiefer Sutherland? Well, he has around three minutes of screen time in this. He still got billed third, so the real star of this movie is his agent.

Taking Lives is fine for an American thriller. The ending has some nice twists and Gena Rowlands is great in her small role. For a movie with four writers (there was a lot of script doctoring), you may expect a bit more, though.

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