Seriously, Jolie & Judd (Ashley that is) have the market cornered on hot women in peril thriller movies. The best part is that they're both talented actresses who have shown, from time to time, an aversion to wearing clothes.
However, despite the nudity factor, usually there's nothing more than a pedestrian movie fronting the lovely ladies. I have to give Taking Lives a bit of credit though. The intensity with which it started out had me on the edge of my seat. Then it was all downhill from there after the opening credits.
This is a movie that desperately wants to be Se7en, or at least a reasonable reproduction of it. What the director, the screenwriters, everyone on this movie failed to learn from Se7en is that red herrings are useless in today's commonplace thriller movie.
Every thriller movie tries a switch, a backstab, whatever, that makes no sense whatsoever at first glance. Then you look deeper & you find a soulless writer with a lack of ideas. Se7en never had a fake murder suspect. They were always looking for that one guy, & he was so much smarter than them he would've gotten away with it all if he didn't have a point to make. Plus, they didn't credit the guy who was the villain 'til the end of the movie.
Audiences today aren't neccessarily smarter, they're just desensitized is all. Let's see, once one of the main stars dies as the villain & the movie keeps going on, are we really supposed to be surprised when someone else turns out to be the villain? Fuck, no. Adequate thriller, as long as you don't dig too deep there. I was going to go with a 3, but after the first ten minutes, I felt the movie fucked up it's potential. Especially after I saw that the director, D.J. Caruso, was the same guy that directed the fantastic Salton Sea. 2 outta 5.
Roger Ebert's review of Taking Lives (2004)