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Mark Canton's, Taking lives (2004) is a one of his best psychological thriller movies that include outstanding styles such as character ambiguity, crime themes among others. The effective use of style coupled an impressive cast makes the movie appear so real. The movie is attractive to watch given that it covers various scenes. The movie is more interesting than a follow through which is based on the novel of the same title by Michael Pye. The movies set up makes interesting from the beginning getting more ludicrous as it approaches its inevitably unpleasing ending. The use of style affects how effective a movie may be as observed in most of the Hitchkockian films.
Taking lives is a story about an FBI agent Ileana Scott who was summoned to help Canadian authorities in Montreal to arrest Asher Martins who was a serial killer. Allegedly, the serial killer assumed lives and identies of people he killed. As a result, it had become an up-hill task for the law enforcers to identify the serial killer. As the movie proceeds, Ileana meets a James Costa who was an art sales man by profession. Costa was a witness in a murder case that involved Asher. Thus, Costa helps the law enforcers to sketch the latest image of Asher. As the investigations proceeds, Scot realizes that Asher targets to kill Costa. Indeed, Costa is kidnapped by Asher moment later, forcing Scot to pursue the car in which Asher and Costa drove in. Unfortunately, Asher dies in a car accident while Costa is taken to hospital. Convinced that her mission was complete, Scot prepares to travel back to US when Costa visits her. Having had feelings for each other, they make love. On the following morning, Scot awakes to find herself in a pool of Costa's blood and fears that he was dead. Fortunately, she realizes that the blood came from popped stitches. Later in the day, Scot goes to the morgue to identify Asher's body. It is at this point that she realizes Asher was now Costa. Her outrage makes the FBI realize that she had an intimate relationship with Asher. Consequently, she is fired. She later appears at a rural home alone and pregnant. Asher visits her insisting that they should start a family. A fight ensues between them and Scot kills him.
Like Alfred Hitchcock, Mark Canton effectively uses the subjective point of view to absorb viewer in to the movie (Berger, 1993). This is evident by the fact that viewers are convinced that Asher was the real Costa after the accident. This believe came about because the movie is understood from Scot's perspective. Throughout the movie, viewers understand Scot as the smart detective who would arrest Asher. The fact that she believed Asher was dead makes every other person to believe that the danger of attacks by the serial killer was all gone. Fears only erupt when Scot is in a pool of blood but then it ends at the realization that Costa was not dead. It is only when the Costa kills Asher's mother that we realize Asher was now Costa (Berger, 1993).
Father, Costa makes viewers believe that the sketch he helps the law enforcers to come up with was the real image of Asher. Avery other person including the characters in the movie gets the understanding of who Asher was from Costa's viewpoint. The fact that the police pursue the vehicle allegedly driven by Asher makes the viewers believe that the serial killer was finally identified. The identity of the serial killer is only doubted when Costa's body is identified at the morgue. Through subjective use of characters, we understand the movie from the characters point of view.
The theme of violence is also effectively used in the movie (Manchel, 2004). Asher is seen brutalizing his victims to death. For instance, at the morgue, Scot lives Costa with medical practitioners who were attending to his bleeding stitches. Mrs. Asher realizes that the body at the morgue is not that of his son. At this point, fear and confusion engulfs Scot who believed that Asher was dead. The worst form of violence happens at the morgues when Mrs. Asher is found dead in a pool of blood. At this same point, Asher is seen holding the weapon he used to kill his mother. This elicits the viewer's feelings and reactions most of which is fear and hate for Asher.
Further, when Asher appears in Costa's show, he is chased after a group of people who sported him. A violent confrontation among those present in the art show ensues leading to the death of Duval. The violent car chase that ensues after Costa is kidnapped creates anxiety in viewers' minds. This is because people develop concern about the Costa's welfare not knowing whether he will die or survive.
The director of Taking lives effectively uses best actors for different characters in the movie. Angelina Jolie effectively plays the role of an FBI agent. The character she plays in the movie is in line with the genre she acted in many other movies. Scot initiates the absorption of viewers into the movie world from the onset. For instance, Scot is first seen lying on the ground as if she was in a grave. In the movie set up, Scot does this while absorbing the vibes, the locale, in a bid to gain insights into the serial killer. Through this action, Scot appears to be a team player who had her own unique ways of dealing with criminals. Therefore, the viewer is convinced that detective Scot will finally apprehend the killer.
Jolie blend perfectly well with Hawke when acting their individual roles in the movie. They easily interact making a viewer believe that the passionate feeling between them was real. Just after Scots meet Cost, she begins to react to young artist physical attraction. Handsome and mellow, Costa presses the right buttons for the seduction of Scot who was a dedicated FBI agent whose natural suspicion was destroyed by her own weakness (Bywater & Sobchack, 1989). Realizing that she was indeed in love with Costa, Scot decides to resign from her duties based on the excuse that she had accomplished her mission. She only continues with her duties after being convinced by her director. The free interaction between these characters facilitates the connection between the acting part of the movie and the real world situation. Other examples of effective use of individual actors include the Keiffer Sutherland who is features as Hart. The car chase and violent attacks at the art centre are examples of scenes that were effectively played by Sutherland. This was in line with the famous drama series 24.
Mark Canton effectively uses suspense and mystery maintenance to facilitate the development of the thriller genre (Fourie, 2004). The film has an average level of sound structural integrity, taste, and effective setups that bring about shock and surprises. For instance, when is discovered that the body at the morgue was not Asher, viewers are left wondering whose identity the killer had taken. Just as Scot is surprised, the viewers may also be perplexed by the turn of events given that Asher had presented himself to Scot as Costa and they did make love. The element of surprise is also brought about towards end of the movie when Scot is seen to be pregnant at a rural firm house. The fact that she was fired from the FBI and she had unprotected sex makes everyone believe in her pregnancy. Therefore, when she is stubbed on her stomach expect her to get unconscious or die. It surprises everyone when she instead kills Asher stating that her plans had been put in place long ago.
Suspense in the movie is brought about by the actions of the characters coupled with the soundtracks used. The movement of Scot from one dark room to the other in pursuit of the serial killer keeps people guessing on what would possibly happen to her. Further, the soundtracks used create anxiety among the viewers. This is because music used varies from smooth to ecstatic. As opposed to other movies that lose the initial plot or theme because of using suspense and mystery, Taking lives maintains its plot throughout out the movies. However, there is some audience manipulation and misinterpretations instance as the movie proceeds. For instance, the action that takes place at the art centre does not seem relevant to the movie.
The director also effectively applies the use of photography in the movie. No values are compromised throughout the movie. In several occasions, Jolie's close-up images are presented but this does not contradict any ethical values that need to be considered when developing movies. Both the lensing and lighting of the movie's images as stipulated in cinematography are perfect. The use of flashlights as Scot ventures into several dark area brings out a scary suggestions which the dim light used adds to the suspense moments.
Most of the effects presented within the movies setup appear real. For instance, sex between Scot and Costa appears to be very real. Further, blood on peoples bodies seem real and this makes the viewers to feel exactly as the movie intends.
Effcetive use of various styles in the movie resulted to the success of the movie Taking Lives. The character presentation coupled with the storyline followed makes this movie one of the most excited thriller movies of all time.