Untraceable (R)

Drama 101 January 25th, 2008
By Nathan Lee
Regarding the irrelevance of Untraceable: First of all, torture is so 2007, and just because this drab little thriller with a flashy love of pain imagines itself a critique of violence doesn't make it any less superfluous. Second, untraceable? Ha! You wish. Although it's true that the villain of our tale, a precocious psychopath hosting real-time snuff videos on the Internet, proves tricky to hunt down, the provenance of the movie itself is pitch-meeting obvious: The Silence of the Lambs meets Saw, dude. Diane Lane straps on the Clarice Starling stuff as Jennifer Marsh, special agent in the FBI cyber-crimes unit. Alerted to the Web site killwithme.com, Marsh and her geeky sidekick (Colin Hanks) watch in horror as some online nutjob tortures and kills Lulu the cat. Soon the Internet killer upgrades his crazy on human prey. Propped upright before a webcam, bleeding from deep incisions spelling "Want to kill with me?" across his chest, the latest victim is plugged into an anti-coagulant IV drip synched to a page-hit counter. The more people watch, the quicker the drip goes; the quicker the drip, the faster he dies. His life, you see, depends entirely on ... you! You as in YouTube, Time person-of-the-year you, sadistic, voyeuristic, media-addled you. Hella subversive, no? Can't stop watching, can you? Feeling just a wee bit implicated, hmm?
Gregory Hoblit Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Billy Burke, Joseph Cross, Daniel Liu, Mary Beth Hurt, Tim De Zam Robert Fyvolent, Mark R Brinker Steven Pearl, Andy Cohen Sony/Screen Gems