‘The whole world wants to watch you die’

UN­TRACE­ABLE Di­rected by Gre­gory Hoblit. Star­ring Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Mary Beth Hurt

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews - MICHAEL DWYER

18 cert, gen re­lease, 100 min

A WHOLE week has passed since we’ve had a new thriller about a se­rial killer who de­vises bru­tal tor­tures to in­flict on vic­tims. In Un­trace­able, the vil­lain goes on­line and at­tracts an au­di­ence of mil­lions to ob­serve the slow deaths of the peo­ple he abducts. His web­site is named kill­withme. com be­cause the more hits his site gets, the faster the vic­tim dies.

“The whole world wants to watch you die, and they don’t even know you,” the killer leers at one of them. His first vic­tim is a lit­tle kit­ten, and while we are spared the graphic de­tail, what is sug­gested is dis­turb­ing and dis­gust­ing. The psy­chopath then takes on some peo­ple his own size, set­ting up a dif­fer­ent, elab­o­rately sadis­tic demise for each of them.

The set­ting is per­pet­u­ally rain­swept Port­land, Ore­gon. Diane Lane gets drenched as FBI cy­ber­crimes spe­cial­ist Jen­nifer Marsh, who’s on the case with a geeky col­league (Colin Hanks, son of Tom). But that’s the least of her wor­ries as the on­line body count rises and her own life is en­dan­gered.

Lane, who’s rarely ever less than in­ter­est­ing on­screen, throws her­self into the un­der­writ­ten role of a stock movie in­ves­ti­ga­tor, a worka­holic with­out a part­ner in her per­sonal life. There is a hint of po­ten­tial ro­mance as Port­land de­tec­tive Eric Box (Billy Burke) joins in the hunt for the killer, but the movie can hardly wait to get back inside the killer’s im­plau­si­bly equipped tor­ture cham­ber (which, in line with genre for­mula, is in a base­ment).

Di­rec­tor Gre­gory Hoblit, whose fa­ther was an FBI agent, and his team of three writ­ers earnestly at­tempt to pre­tend they are mak­ing an im­por­tant state­ment, a cau­tion­ary tale about the abuse of tech­nol­ogy in this in­for­ma­tion age. The voyeurs drawn to the killer’s site should not be called fans, Agent Marsh in­sists, but ac­com­plices.

How­ever, fol­low­ing a de­based tra­di­tion of tabloid jour­nal­ism, this nasty movie wants to have it both ways, say­ing: look at this, isn’t it shock­ing? As the cam­era gets up close on the tor­ture vic­tims and lingers to record their phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse, Un­trace­able’s ve­neer of moral out­rage is ex­posed as hyp­o­crit­i­cal and ex­ploita­tive.

CSI: Port­land: Lane and Burke

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.