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Untraceable (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Gregory Hoblit

Starring:
Diane Lane/Jennifer
Billy Burke/Detective Box
Colin Hanks/Griffin
Joseph Cross/Owen
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A serial killer orchestrates quite the kooky game. He kidnaps peeps to kill them online on his website www.killwithme.com. The way it works is: the more people that visit his site, the more rapidly the victims’ die. Of course taking into account our self centered, heartless and “blame free” society; innocent folks buy the farm quicker and quicker as the site gains more popularity. Will hot to trot Cybercrime FBI Agent Jennifer (Lane) control/alt/delete the loon before he wipes out a city block?
THE LOWDOWN
I can’t say that the trailers for UNTRACEABLE had me twirling in my computer chair in a tizzy. It came off as a by the numbers thriller that should’ve starred Sandra Bullock, that my parents would most likely adore and that I would in all probability loathe or be bored out of my wits with. Thankfully, I was off the mark! Here we go!

UNTRACEABLE followed the “Thriller 101” rules to a T from the get go in terms of narrative structure. It introduced an appealing “Clarice Sterling Light” lead in Jennifer (played by the always competent Diane Lane) and then put out a gripping initial premise that we can all somewhat relate to in this age of “net gone wild”. Once that done, as per all good little mainstream thrillers, it not so subtlety strategically placed its pawns here and there via characters/relationships/devices; pawns that would of course be used against us in the film’s second half. So nope, surprises weren’t abundant here. I saw through the set ups, second guessed the outcomes and was right for the most part. Originality wasn’t this one’s strong suit either. SAW meets THE NET kept popping in my noggin. But although more see through than my lack of writing skills, I still managed to get some round kicks out of it.

This tight fisted (I don’t even know what that means) ride hit the g-spot on varied levels. Having Diane Lane in the lead is always a good thing for any project as she usually elevates the most mundane of roles to a higher plane via her charisma, her sweet “bounce a nickel off it” ass and her hefty acting chops. Here was no different, she carried the film like a pro! Why? Cause she IS a pro! Love that dame! The zippy pace and the efficient directing/editing on hand played in the movie’s favor as well, keeping me in the game on an aesthetics standpoint, consequently, narrative wise too.

Moreover; I got to hand it to this sucka for affecting me via its visceral torture/murder scenarios. Inventive, cruel and well staged/shot; the grisly goods here whooped me stupid! They knew just how much to imply and how much to show to put me through the ringer. Fun times! Finally, unlike most “Thriller 101” specials; this one came with a relevant social commentary that I totally dug and related too. WTF is wrong with the world today? Like really; it’s almost like the Internet brought out the worst in people. Or maybe it just gave “the worse” a voice, hence it’s in our faces 24/7. Still not sure on that one. I’m certain that if the events in the film were to happen for real, the outcome would be the same. And that's freaking sad.  

Alas, UNTRACEABLE wasn’t as smarty pants as it thought it was. Suspension of disbelief had to be spread on both side of the loaf mucho times when it came to the conveniences within the many situations, the “killer’s” seemingly endless abilities as to anything computer related and the film’s dodgy final act. A couple of “Come ons!” slipped out of my yapper that’s for sure! And for a film that built up its mystery and then took us along for the “investigation”; it sure had an underwhelming way to “solve” its case. That’s unless Diane Lane waltzing in out of the blue with a chart and pictures to explain it to us thrills you that is. Didn’t make for a powerful “reveal”, it was more like a “oh…okay, that’s who the killer is” lets move on type of spiel.

Overall though; Untraceable was an easy and enjoyable watch that actually managed to stimulate my one brain cell when it came to its “message”. Who knew? Original? Nope. Clever? Not really. But would it make for a groovy Sunday afternoon DVD watch? You bet it would. Trace this!

GORE
Wow, the film is Rated R! I was sure it was PG 13! With that said, it showed and implied enough to have its torture scenarios (which I won't spoil here) hit home. I cringed a couple of times - hence mission accomplished.
ACTING
Diane Lane (Jennifer) brought the same level of class, charm and talent that she’s brought to all of her parts. This flick wouldn’t have been as good or convincing without her. I had never heard of Billy Burke (Detective Box) but I totally dug his low key, man’s man and semi brooding show. Colin Hanks (Griffin) takes after his old man; shed him in a sympathetic light and you can’t help but like the guy. He’s a natural!
T & A
Diane Lane's naked back in a shower, does that count? Hey it's Diane Lane so... YES!
DIRECTING
Gregory Hoblit helmed this baby with a firm hand, echoing the energy of the investigation through tight and riveting visuals. He handled his kills with panache as well for maximum back-hand (loved them close-ups of one of the victim's eye at some point – very Argento). The moody cinematography lent a foot in giving this flick the right tone too.
SOUNDTRACK
Christopher Young churned out a fitting score that i found myself humming on my way out of the theatre.
BOTTOM LINE
Untraceable was granted rather connect the dots within the thriller subgenre and as transparent as most of the women I date when it came to its games and tricks. On the flip side, it gunned out fast and painlessly, was armed with some taunt torture/murder bits, had strong acting all around and even pulled off a bang-on social commentary about the world + web along the way. You can do better but you can do much worse. An ideal, “I don’t know what to rent so I’ll rent this” DVD to watch with your better half. Your parents will love it too!
BULL'S EYE
Director Gregory Hoblit's father was an FBI agent.

The flick was shot in Portland, Oregon, USA.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNTRACEABLE SITE HERE

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8:35AM on 01/26/2008

WATCHABLE

A decent movie with a formulaic predictable ending. It is still worth viewing!
A decent movie with a formulaic predictable ending. It is still worth viewing!
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11:34AM on 01/25/2008

Really good !

I really like UNTRACEABLE. It reminded me of SE7EN. Great movie!
I really like UNTRACEABLE. It reminded me of SE7EN. Great movie!
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