Set in Montreal, Canada, this thriller is about FBI crime profiler Illeana Scott’s (Angelina Jolie) investigation of an ongoing serial killing spree that has the French Canadian police stymied. John Costa (Ethan Hawke), the only witness to the most recent brutal killing, is an artist and can therefore provide a detailed drawing of the killer. Detective Scott uses her unique brand of crime-solving skills in addition to her intuition to understand the mind of this mysterious killer. She learns through her investigation that the killer is actually taking on his victim’s identities and personalities. Through her study of gruesome forensic photographs and her continuing romantic interest in Costa, Illeana believes that she is about to identify the killer. She uses Costa to attract the killer to strike again. Taking Lives, which also stars Kiefer Sutherland, takes its audience through twists and turns that are complex and morbidly fascinating.
Illeana Scott submerges herself into the case as she pours over every grotesque forensic photo available. She places them on the ceiling over her bed and on the walls of her bathroom and kitchen, constantly studying while doing her daily routines. The film’s one sex scene is between them and involves nudity that is unnecessary, although their coupling is crucial to the integrity of the storyline. There is a great deal of blood and shockingly aggressive killing. Due to this graphic content and strong language, including 15 f-words, Dove does not recommend it as family-friendly. But it will likely be popular in the theaters due to its complex and engaging plot.