Monday, January 11, 2010

'Untraceable' is worth tracking down

Untraceable (2008)
Starring: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Mary Beth Hurt, and Owen Reilly
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

A genius-level hacker (Reilly) is kidnapping and murdering victims live on a website. The more people who log on, the faster the victims die. As FBI cyber-crime experts (Lane and Hanks) close in onthe killer, he makes them his next targets.

"Untraceable" is a decent thriller in the mold of "The Card Player" (review here) and it had far more in common with that lesser-known thriller than "Silence of the Lambs", which some reviewers compare it to. (I can only, once again, assume that these reviewers don't watch enough movies, or they don't really pay attention to the movies they do watch. The similarities between this film and "Silence of the Lambs" are superficial and comparing the two does neither film justice.)

Although there are few surprises in "Untraceable", the film moves along at a fast pace and keeps the suspense high, despite the fact that most of film involves characters just sitting around. Further, its likeable and talented cast makes sure the viewer feels engaged in the film, and even the most jaded member of the audience will start to be drawn in when the killer sets his sights on the film's heroes. Even better, the film's villain is ultimately a pathetic loser for whom the audience will feel more disgust than respect; it's high time a movie got away from the "kewl bad guy" trend.

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