An FBI profiler is called in by French Canadian police to catch a serial killer who takes on the identity of each new victim.
103 min, USA:109 min (unrated version)
2.35 : 1
Rated R for strong violence including disturbing images, language and some sexuality.
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Serial Killer, Profiler, Police, FBI, Scissor Stabbing
DTS, Dolby Digital, SDDS
Psychological Thriller, Police Detective Film
Serial Killers, Assumed Identities, Murder Investigations, Dangerous Attraction
Moody, Nocturnal, Ominous, Tense, Creepy
Serial Killer, Car Accident
Has Detailed Data (New)
1, 2, 3, 7, 8
Count - Awards
US Box Office
USA, Australia, Canada
Country Of Origin
USA, Australia, Canada
The film opens in the early 1980s where teenager Martin Asher (Paul Dano) is seen fleeing from home, taking a bus in Canada. He befriends another teen on the bus, Matt Soulsby (Justin Chatwin) and the two talk about their plans for the future. When their bus breaks down, the two decide to rent a car and drive all the way to Seattle. While Matt is changing a flat tire, Martin comments on how he and Matt are both about the same height, and pushes Matt in the way of an oncoming truck. He is last seen taking Matt's guitar and walking away singing in the fashion that Matt had been in the car.
Twenty years later, a successful FBI profiler, Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie), is summoned to help out Canadian law enforcement in Montreal, to apprehend Asher, who has been killing people for years and assuming their identities as he travels across North America. Illeana has to adjust to working in a strange city with a police team that she does not really fit in with. Meanwhile, Mrs. Asher (Gena Rowlands), Martin's mother, claims she has recently seen her son in Montreal and tells the police she truly believes Martin is evil.
The team meets with art salesman James Costa (Hawke), an eyewitness who saw Asher kill his last victim. James makes a drawing of Asher and, within a couple of days, Asher's apartment is found. Illeana discovers Asher's next target is Costa, so protecting him is priority number one. During the time they spend together, Illeana and James begin to develop feelings for each other, though Illeana refuses to become involved with him because of the ongoing case.
After kidnapping Costa with Illeana in pursuit, Asher supposedly dies in a car accident and the case is closed. As Illeana is packing up in preparation to return home, Costa visits her in her motel room. Without saying anything, he undresses her and they make passionate love on a chest of drawers and the bed, surrounded by gruesome crime scene photos. The next morning, Illeana awakes to find herself partly covered in Costa's blood. At first, she fears he is dead, but then he awakes and they discover he had merely popped the stitches in his arm that he needed following the accident.
As Costa has his stitches re-sewn in the hospital, Illeana is called down to the morgue as Mrs. Asher has come to identify the body presumed to be her son. However, the body turns out not to be her son's; Martin is still alive somewhere. A irritated Mrs. Asher leaves the morgue and gets into the elevator, but before Illeana can follow her in, the doors shut. When they finally open, Illeana sees James covered in blood, standing over Mrs. Asher's mutilated corpse, and realizes Costa is Asher, that Asher killed the actual Costa months ago. Horrified by the discovery that she had slept with a serial killer, Illeana almost faints as the police unsuccessfully try to prevent Asher from escaping the hospital. Illeana later returns to her motel room and frantically washes herself, in a state of manic disgust. An investigation shows that the man the real Costa had identified as Asher was really Christopher Hart (Kiefer Sutherland), an art thief who did business with Asher, and whom Asher owed $80,000 to, but had nothing to do with the murders. The Montreal police chase Asher, but he escapes in a train station and disappears, and approaches his next victim, a traveling sports talent scout. After that, he calls Illeana on the phone and taunts her. Illeana admits to having consenual sex with Asher and although it was after the investigation had been presumed closed she is still, consequently fired from the FBI. "After carefully reviewing Special Agent Scott's record with the Bureau... The Office of Professional Responsibility has issued a letter of termination citing egregious lack of judgment and conduct unbecoming of a federal agent."
Seven months later, Illeana is living in a desolate farmhouse by herself in rural Pennsylvania and looking heavily pregnant with Asher's twin boys. One day as she sits alone in her home, she discovers Asher has broken into her house. She frantically tries to escape, but Asher quickly overpowers her and then reveals he
Taking Lives is a 2004 psychological thriller film starring Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke. The film was marketed with the tagline "He would kill to be you."