Rated R for grisly violence and torture, and some language.
Directed By: Gregory Hoblit
You know if no one was watching right now, you’d just be sitting in water. But the whole world wants to watch you die, and they don’t even know you. -Owen Reilly
A computer cop for the FBI finds herself in a twisted case involving a person killing people live on a website. Do to issues with jurisdiction and complicated Internet mumbo jumbo it’s apparent these cyber cops are going to have a difficult time finding their big bad. The lead investigator on the case is Agent Jennifer Marsh, a single mother who chose to work nights in order to be around for her daughter. Her husband was killed in the line of duty and now it becomes abundantly apparent that Jennifer’s life is in peril as well. What will it take to get the killer and where will he stop?
Untraceable offered a modern day techno horror trip into the mind of a deranged serial killer. The script seemed fairly on point, and most of the acting itself was well performed, but somewhere in the middle the two stories seemed to tug in different directions. I really enjoyed the fact that the pacing was really slowed down and the character’s were donated a great deal of time to establish who they were and the changes the situation inflicted on all their lives. Especially the difference it had with them interacting with each other. The character arc’s actually became more engaging than the terrible events at times, and often it was difficult to switch gears back into serial killer mode.
When the film was focused on it’s good guy search for bad guy theme it played that role out successfully as well. It wasn’t a nail biting suspense thriller, but it did create a great deal of terror, moderate suspense, and an inkling for danger for each of the main character’s. Some of the moments were predictable, specifically the fate of Colin Hanks character. Within the first five minutes it’s pretty apparent what is going to get him in trouble, but the rest of his character development was satisfying enough that a turn of cheek was clearly easy in that selection.
The relationship developed between Marsh and Box was the most compelling aspect of the film. The chemistry they had was palpable, but their relationship was played so low key and subtle it became almost electric when the two were anywhere in the vicinity of each other, and though things were clearly always on a professional level the realism of their friendship and relationship was something that gave the movie a lot more integrity and authenticity.
Some scenes were gruesome, and the film being shot in the overcast gray lighting that is Portland, Oregon left the film in an indubitable state of hopeless dread, which while not overwhelming was a lovely nuance in the back round of the depressing story.
- Diane Lane as Agent Jennifer Marsh
- Billy Burke as Detective Eric Box
- Colin Hanks as Agent Griffin Dowd
- Joseph Cross as Owen Reilly
- Mary Beth Hurt as Stella Marsh
- Peter Lewis as Richard Brooks
Being a massively character driven story, Untraceable required believable character’s and solid actors to play the main roles. The leads played by Diane Lane, Billy Burke, and Joseph Cross were all very realistic in their adaptations. While the dialogue and character choices were usually easy to buy, it was the performance behind the words and actions that really sold the truth the film presented. It was cast nicely.
Ratings And Suggestions
Untraceable was probably one of the better suspense, serial killer flicks I’ve watched in awhile. It only suffered a few moments of yelling at the character’s on the TV and telling them how stupid they were, and only had a few issues with balancing the crime story and the character developing stories. That being said, it had an entirely original concept, which is difficult to find these days, real three dimensional character’s to latch onto, and a film that’s visuals really reflected the overall pathos the film gave. It was a solid movie that might unfortunately get lost over time, but I consider certainly worth a rental. Two And A Half Out Of Four Stars.