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UNTRACEABLE (2008) ** DVD Review by SEBASTIAN

Posted on December 3rd, 2008
Posted on December 3rd, 2008

To say the film-makers missed the mark with this movie is an understatement. In a genre meant to be thought-provoking and nerve-jangling, “Untraceable”, starring Diane Lane as a “cyber-cop” tracking a serial killer, fails miserably. Just the title alone is uninspiring.

The story revolves around three detectives trying to find a madman whose method of killing people is based on how many viewers watch the victim on his website (named Kill With Me). Expect every cliché we’ve come to expect from this worn-out genre. The main character has lost her police man husband and is raising a child alone. The cyber cop partner is a nerd. The police detective is a prospective love interest, etc. If you see an item being used early in the film, you can count on seeing it again later in the movie. If you have an inclination as to where the plot might twist (if you can call it that), rest assured it will go there. You won’t be surprised. Even so, I won’t give away the film here.

Aside from the fact that this plot is stolen from an episode of the now defunct TV show Millinnium, I really liked the idea behind this movie. It has a lot of potential. Instead of living up to it (I.e. making the most out of the ), it spends most of its time trying to give the killer the sinister type of motive that the killer has in “Seven”. He makes his viewers into his accomplices and thereby indicts society as fundamentally wrong. This line of thinking almost fits into the movie, but is unfortunately sabotaged by the killer being a undefined and dull character. We need interesting villains in a story so that we can root for the good guys and this one doesn’t have one.

The reason this movie gets an extra star from me is because of Diane Lane, who serves up a really interesting portrayal of a sadly underdeveloped character. In fact the cast is quite good all around. I can find no fault with the acting or even the direction. The problem is definitely with the script. I’m surprised director Gregory Hoblit took this project. Previously he helmed the superb “Primal Fear” and the intriguing “Fallen”. Its clear Hoblit knows how to handle character and provide a decent production. I’m starting to think good writers just don’t want to work with him though.

I was disappointed by the director’s last feature “Fracture”, and this one is only a step up the ladder, and it’s a shaky one at that. Give us another thriller Hoblit! I know you can do it.

Bottom line: If you like thrillers and have seen a few you might want to skip it. On the other hand, if you’re new to this genre and you don’t mind some Saw-like violence then you might want to try it out.

2 out of 5 stars

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