Some films try to slip an incongruity or two past the viewer, and others are so full of errors we know immediately that the script suffered from not having any review whatsoever by sober, reasoning adults. TAKING LIVES is one of these most regrettable films.
But was TAKING LIVES really that bad?   Let's start with their use of the "red herring".   This is a common 'suspense' device used throughout literature - it's object is to misdirect the viewers' focus away from the guilty party.   Used properly, it gives the viewer more than one reasonable option as to "Who Dunit".   TAKING LIVES used "red herrings" several times, and each time, we later saw that these "red herrings" not only didn't make sense, they were inappropriate and out of character.   For example, why was Kiefer Sutherland's apartment done up more hideously than Hannibal Hector's basement, and why did he jump through a plate glass window to escape police, if in fact, he had nothing to hide?   And more humorously, why did the police search his apartment in the dark, cautiously using their flashlights to peep and peek, when all they had to do was turn on the bloody lights?   This is film direction at it's cheapest.   At last report, Director D J Carusoe is now on the lam, and if caught, will be thrown in Hollywood's   Cinematographic Artists Detention Facility on charges of gross incompetence.
It gets worse - the plot of TAKING LIVES is damaged beyond repair.   It is beyond the pale that sentient beings (the police) would consider a plan to entrap a serial killer, if every part of the plan had virtually no chance of succeeding, and if the entire plan would fail when any of it's elaborately contrived, flimsily reasoned parts failed.  The odds of this convoluted plan actually succeeding are less than winning the California State Lottery.   We are at the same time asked to believe that the FBI would hang one of it's agents out as bait, endangering her life for 7 months, pretending to be in progressive states of pregnancy, (I'm not making any of this up!) on the impossibly slim chance she might be under observation by the killer.   But when the plot of a film is already obviously 'impossible', it's becoming more 'implausible' is hardly noteworthy.
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