Rarely do I write a movie review on the fly like this, but I couldn't wait any longer. If you haven't seen Untraceable with Diane Lane, you haven't missed anything. If you paid money to go see it on opening weekend, you're just S.O.L.
There are only two positive aspects of this movie. Diane Lane is the first. No amount of late twentieth century urban street dweller clothing can hide how hot he is. Her character, Jennifer Marsh, is a cyber-crimes investigator attached to the Portland, Oregon field office of the FBI. This chick knows more about the Internet than most high school kids today will ever know. Now for the second positive about the movie. Marsh (Lane) is explaining to her colleagues what bad guy Owen Reilly (played in an almost typecast manner by actor Joseph Cross) is doing to make sure he isn't found. As she is spewing technical jargon, her boss, field office director Richard Brooks (played by Peter Lewis) gets a glazed look in his eyes. When Marsh finishes her dissertation, Brooks blinks and says, "I have no idea what you just said."
Collin Hanks takes a turn at exercising his chops in the family business (he is the son of Oscar winner Tom Hanks) as Griffin Dowd, a young, up and coming FBI field agent in the cyber-crimes division who is still somewhat akward, we assume, with women. The closest he gets to one in the movie is nearly running over his own date to Marsh's daughter's birthday party at the local skating rink. Dowd is rushing out of the rink with Marsh and Portland Police Detecive Eric Box (played by Billy Burke) to return to the FBI office to watch another of Reilly's victims die on line.
Reilly is a by-the-book serial killer. He's predictable. Something happened to upset his world and he plans to get his revenge by killing everyone involved (SPOILER ALERT: his dad committed suicide and it was broadcast on the local TV news and the footage ended up all over the Internet). Reilly decides to use the Internet as his forum and American web surfers as his weapon. The more people who visit his site, the faster the victim dies, except for the first victim, a poor kitten who dies of starvation stuck to an adhesive-type rat trap inches away from a bowl of milk.
Why am I giving away most of the movie? Because, it's billing as The Silence of the Lambs for the Internet age is a joke. In both movies, a female FBI agent pursues a serial killer. There, the similarities diverge like east from west. Silence was a psychological thriller. Untraceable is a blood, gore, and guts, veins in my teeth, eat dead burnt bodies right up in your face slasher movie lacking only a goalie's mask and a chainsaw. The first human victim bleeds to death. The second is cooked to death with heat lamps. The third, our loveable, but rather transparent Dowd (Hanks) is boiled in a tank of battery acid -- the tank starts as just water, but as the number of visitors increases so does the amount of sulfuric acid pumped into the tank. As this happens we are blessed with watching as Dowd's skin literally peels from his body and his blood and other bodily fluids are released into the mix. Later when the ordeal is over and Reilly's lair is found, we see only Dowd's head and shoulders above the water and his skeleton in the tank. Lovely image there. Our fourth intended victim is Marsh herself who, as one might imagine in a movie as predictable as this, finds a way to outsmart her nemesis and pump him full of lead from her standard issue 9mm semi automatic, all while the Internet watches live.
If I could find a way to get Sony Pictures (who owns Screen Gems, the distributor) to give me my money back for that lost 100 minutes of my life, I would certainly pursue it. The plot is thin enough to read today's newspaper through it. It is predictable. It is boring -- I stopped counting the number of times I looked at my watch at 53 and that was only 15 minutes into the movie. There was no "thrill". If you're into watching people tortured to death you probably need to be in a mental institution and frankly the celluloid expended for this so-called movie would have been better used as the plastic cover over the next issue of Playboy.
On a scale of 1 to 5, this movie gets a -10. To say I hated this one is an understatement of epic proportions. Instead of seeing this movie, go rent Smokey and the Bandit and bask in the knowledge that you're watching a movie with real entertainment value and saving about six bucks in the process.