Untraceable was another 2008 movie starring Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Billy Burke and Joseph Cross as the antagonist. It received negative reviews from critics and did not do very well on the box office, earning over 51 million on a budget of 35 million. At least they still earned profit. Some critics even had strong opinions against the movie. I'll share my opinions later on.
The movie revolved around a murderer who abducts and kills people. His murders were made available for public streaming through a website he set-up. The catch was as the number of viewers increase, the victim would die faster. The murder processes were engineered to kill the person through a sophisticated system linked to the viewership of the website. It actually seemed like the finale of CSI or NCIS or other crime shows. It was full of suspense as it became a race against time.
At the beginning of the movie, I was starting to understand why the critics didn't like it. I felt like nothing was happening, it was moving too slow, the second victim wasn't all that convincing in his performance, although the first was very convincing. However, midway through the film, I had a change of heart. Things got a lot better. It suddenly became intense I felt chills watching the following scenes.
Spoilers below! Proceed to the last paragraph to skip the spoilers.
The turning point for me was when Griffin Dowd, Colin Hanks' character, was abducted. The part where he was strapped on a chair under water gave me my first of several chills. The process for his murder was simple: as the number of viewers increase, more and more sulfuric acid will be released on the water, hence burning his skin off to death. Hanks' portrayal of the struggle and rationality was brilliant. He was slowly dying, but he also knew he had to send a message across before he died. Watching his pain and suffering felt so real and really disheartening and I just felt that moment of fear.
From that point things picked up, from discovering who the murderer was, why he chose these people to kill, the reason behind his motives, etc. It also built-up the part where Jennifer Marsh, Diane Lane's character, was to be abducted and killed by the psycho-killer. I would have to say the ending was a bit anti-climactic, but not bad at all. It was still filled with suspense that made me anticipate the next few minutes.
I guess it showed their message, how the media feasts on just about anything that might shoot ratings up. How networks fail at acknowledging the people on the other side of the TV screen, feeling the pain and being vulnerable. I could name a lot of instances where the media had failed to recognize the dangers of their coverage. However, I do know that there are benefits to covering certain events. I guess at the end of the day, some will win and some will lose.
I don't know why some felt strongly against this movie. It may not be the best movie out there but it's definitely not the worst. It was actually pretty good, and I would re-watch this movie again. It had the proper amount of suspense that kept me engaged, at least the second half that is. It was all worth it just because of the second part of the movie. Also, it was really weird seeing Jesse Tyler Ferguson in this movie, especially the role he played. Who knew he could be a badass?
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