6.04.2008

Untraceable (2008)

DIRECTED BY
Gregory Hoblit

STARRING
Diane Lane - Jennifer Marsh
Billy Burke - Detective Eric Box
Colin Hanks - Griffin Dowd
Joseph Cross - Owen Reilly
Mary Beth Hurt - Stella Marsh
Perla Haney-Jardine - Annie Marsh

Year - 2008

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4


UNTRACEABLE is about an FBI Agent named Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane), who works in the Cybercrime Lab in Portland, Oregon. Apparently, some sicko has created a website called killwithme.com, which made its debut by showing a live feed of a poor cat being tortured and killed. Marsh and her partner Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks) believe this site should be stopped, but their superiors don't consider the content a threat or worth checking out. This changes when killwithme.com shows a live feed of a man being injected with some sort of poisonous substance. The more people watch, the faster the poison gets injected into his bloodstream. The Cybercrime Lab tries to eliminate the website, but the one in control of it has managed to continuous change his IP address so no one could take his content down. The killer continues with another innocent man by frying him in front of some heat lamps. Eventually, the killer has a fascination with Marsh, going after her co-workers and then going after her and her daughter - leading a very predictable final showdown.

Many people have pretty much given scathing reviews about UNTRACEABLE. While it's not the greatest thriller in the world, it's far from the worst that I've seen. It's just one of those mediocre films you know could have been so much better if there was a bit of originality inputted into the damn script.

I guess it's like watching SILENCE OF THE LAMBS mixed with THE NET, but not as interesting. Obviously the film is trying to send a message about internet usage and how it can be a playground for evil intentions. Anyone who doesn't get that while watching this film must be hard headed because they beating the damn thing like a drum on your ass to get the point. I think that's what really ruins the film for me, as the message is the main focus of the movie, sacrificing something that could really be entertaining to lure people into actually watching this. The internet has done a lot of great things in modern society, yet the film only glorifies the negative. It becomes repetitive and redundant after the third attempt, leaving me blah. I felt like I was watching a rant made into a film, and who in the fuck wants to watch something like that on their TV screen?

I also thought that the films gruesome scenes were taken out of SAW, but they weren't glorified like in that franchise. They were pretty much done to make a point and nothing more. The subtlety was nice for a change, but it made the film's message a double standard. The internet is evil because of this, yet it's being shown to us anyway. Right...that'll stop the evil from continuing!

I also felt the revelation of the killer was done WAY too early in a thriller like this. We know who the killer is halfway into the film, although we don't really don't know his motives until later. I dunno...it just lost me there because I enjoy thrillers for their mystery aspect. I appreciate that the answers weren't given completely away at once, but the "thrill" factor is gone once I know who the culprit is. Plus, how was this person so computer-saavy? It was like he was a fuckin' robot and shit. Give me a fuckin' break! Plus, the way the characters figured out who the culprit was didn't exactly light my ass on fire. It was like "whatever". If I wanted to see a powerpoint presentation, I'd go to a business meeting. SHOW me. Don't TELL me.

The ending was also horrible. It's one of those endings that I hate where the hero and villain settle things once and for all in a horrific battle, which leads to...nothing in particular. The film just ended after it was all said and done. I was left going, "That's it!?" Yeah, one of THOSE endings. Ugh.

The direction by Gregory Hoblit was decent enough that I can't complain about it. It wasn't particularly energenic, riveting, or thrilling, but I definitely felt the film's moody atmosphere. I also liked the gloomy cinematography as well. Nice blue tint to this film. I'm just wondering why Hoblit was trying to make Diane Lane look so old and haggard? It didn't really work because I still thought she was beautiful and bangable. But that's just me.

Speaking of Lane, she's really the saving grace of UNTRACEABLE. She deserves to be in a much better film than this one but she handles the crappy material like a pro. She gave a very uninteresting role a lot of class and oomph not many actresses would have done. She convinced me in her performance and I wanted to watch her right until the end. If this was given to Sandra Bullock, UNTRACEABLE would be in the WTF? Vault. But Lane saved it from that.

The other actors were okay. Billy Burke didn't impress me but he plays brooding very well. I just wish he was a bit more energenic with the performance. I didn't really feel he and Lane had much chemistry together, although the spark was ready to light that fire. Colin Hanks was charming and sympathetic. Too bad his fate was sealed right from the beginning.

THE FINAL HOWL
UNTRACEABLE
isn't really as bad as people say. The acting is fine enough and Hoblit directs a decent film. It's just too bad the script and the way it was handled was horrible. If you're a Diane Lane fan, definitely check this out. If you're not, don't bother. Totally predictable, cliched, and a message that constantly gets forced down your throat, it might be a good idea to leave this film UNTRACEABLE from your viewing list.

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