Taking Lives (2004)



Critic Consensus: A stylish, but predictable thriller where the only thrills are offered by the sensuous Angelina Jolie.

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Movie Info

A female detective on the trail of a psychotic killer discovers love in a dangerous time in this thriller, based on the novel by Michael Pye. Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie) is a special agent with the FBI who has a reputation for using offbeat methods, but also boasts a strong record as a criminal profiler. Scott is called in by a former Quantico colleague (Tcheky Karyo) to assist two Canadian police detectives, Paquette (Olivier Martinez) and Duval (Jean-Hugues Anglade), who are on the trail of a serial killer who has been doing business in and around Montreal for close to two decades. The murderer has a history of assimilating many aspects of the lives of his victims after he kills them, but there's been a witness to his most recent crime. Art gallery owner James Costa (Ethan Hawke) saw the killer during an assault, and now finds himself working as an only marginally willing decoy for Scott. As Scott and Costa follow the killer's trail, they find themselves becoming attracted to one another, which is not necessarily a comfort to Scott as she finds her quarry moving closer and closer. Taking Lives also stars Kiefer Sutherland and Gena Rowlands. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
R (adult situations/language)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
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Angelina Jolie
as Illeana Scott
Ethan Hawke
as Costa
Gena Rowlands
as Mrs. Asher
Olivier Martinez
as Paquette
Tcheky Karyo
as Leclair
Paul Dano
as Young Asher
Justin Chatwin
as Matt Soulsby
André Lacoste
as Cashier
Billy Two Rivers
as car salesman
Richard Lemire
as Québec city cop
Julien Poulin
as Québec city inspector
Marie-Josée Croze
as Medical Examiner
Christian Tessier
as Interrogation Officer
Brigitte Bedard
as French reporter
Dominique Briand
as bartender
Alex Sol
as hotel manager
Shawn Roberts
as desk clerk
Martin Brisebois
as Henri Bisonnette
Nathalie Matteu
as Victim No. 2
Hugh Probyn
as Victim No. 3
Henri Pardo
as Officer Mann
Henry Pardo
as officer Mann
Fabiano Amato
as waiter
Judith Baribeau
as Mr. Costa's Assistant
Eugenio "Kiko" Osorio
as Sandra & The Latin Groove
Anne Marineau
as woman in gallery
Engenio Osorio
as Member of Sandra & The Latin Groove
Jesus Alejandro Nino
as Member of Sandra & The Latin Groove
Lisandro Martinez
as Member of Sandra & The Latin Groove
Sandra Campanelli
as Member of Sandra & The Latin Groove
Vince Grant
as Illeana's hotel manager
Freddy Bessa
as Detective Roch
Andy Bradshaw
as officer Darabont
Steven Wallace Lowe
as Man at Moncton Street
Marcel Jeannin
as train man
Brett Watson
as Clive Morin
David Eisner
as committee head
Paul Chatwin
as Soulsby, Justin
Lois Dellar
as postal clerk
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Critic Reviews for Taking Lives

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (38)

If you can buy the pillow-lipped Angelina Jolie as a psychic FBI agent in Montreal to hunt a serial killer, then you can swallow the other implausibilities in this retread thriller.

March 25, 2004
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Jolie is far too good for this tripe but she does give the film its only believable moments, and for the first half, her concentration makes you watch her intently.

Full Review… | March 21, 2004
Top Critic

Nosedive it does, abandoning all pretense of style and eccentricity for at-times laughable predictability.

March 19, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

Would have to work nights to reach mediocrity.

March 19, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

While not breaking any new ground, director D.J. Caruso's movie also doesn't disappoint.

Full Review… | March 19, 2004
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Caruso is a much more resourceful director than this material deserves, but I resented being two steps ahead of the genius profiler and the genius serial-killer.

Full Review… | March 19, 2004
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Taking Lives


Angelina Jolie bringing the heat here as a FBI agent tracking down a clever serial killer. Its a by-the-numbers offering, the director DJ Caruso leading the audience shamelessly so that when the twist arrives its kinda tired as he's been hinting at it for over an hour. In the meantime, its Jolie that keeps your attention, those lips and all obscuring all thought otherwise. Ethan Hawke is okay, but only that.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A rash of films appeared in the late nineties and early aughts that had beautiful women facing down serial killers. Like Jolie's earlier "The Bone Collector" and the Sandra Bullock's "Murder by Numbers," "Taking Lives" follows a female law enforcement agent getting into the psyche of a killer. The entire film is thoughtless from beginning to end. They don't know the identity of this killer, or even if he actually exists, and yet they find his identity based on a tip from an elderly woman, which seems like an innocuous claim. The action is predictable, the twist isn't presented very well, there's really strange instances of adult content for no reason other than they needed nudity, our main character is completely one dimensional except that she's morbid, the ending is thoughtlessly horrible, and none of this film makes any sense. It's just really horribly done, all around. Nothing makes any sense, whatsoever, which is a serious problem, especially when the entire film revolves around the logic in solving a decade's long set of mysteries. Even as a time waster this is not a good choice, as its endless reign of immaturity will anger anyone who deems to watch it.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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