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Action - Untraceable

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Untraceable
Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Billy Burke
Directed by Gregory Hoblit
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2008
101 minutes

On the Internet, many people do things that they wouldn't normally do in real life because they think they can get away with anything since the Net is so anonymous.

The movie Untraceable shows us that there are people tracking suspicious activities, but also that hackers know how to get around a lot of the traps that government agencies set to catch them.

At the beginning, we see FBI officer Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) and her partner Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks) catching a hacker red-handed trying to steal credit card information on one of the traps she has set for him. An arrest is made and we can see that she knows her stuff.

She then receives a tip from the Portland Police on a web site which puzzles her. It seems the web site shows a kitten die live on webcam on the Internet. The more viewers watch the site, the more likely the kitten is to die quickly. When humans replace the kitten, the situation prompts an investigation in which Jennifer Marsh will be aided by a Portland detective (Billy Burke).

Together they try to find this apparently untraceable killer committing gruesome murders live on the Net, to which the web site's viewers are the main weapon. As the number of viewers increases, death comes faster and faster for the victims.

We can recognize here the North-American public's lust for sensationalism as can be verified by the popularity of video websites or reality TV. When the hacker targets her family, it then gets personal.

For technologically-challenged viewers, most of the tech talk on this DVD might seem disorienting at first, but it is all very realistic to an Internet veteran and it adds to the credibility of whoever did research for this medium budget Hollywood film. Kudos on that.

Untraceable is hard to describe because it combines different genres. There's gritty police work, there's horror when we see the horrible deaths of the victims of the website, there are more sentimental moments, some suspense and it is to a certain extent a psychological thriller.

Add the technological element to the mix, and you have something that tries to please many potential viewers, but that will probably disappoint some because the movie isn't clearly set in any category.

However, I can't say I was totally disappointed with this DVD. There are interesting plot points in the movie, and since it is called Untraceable, you know they'll try to keep you guessing till the end.

The Untraceable DVD bonus features will be interesting for those who like to get a peak behind the scenes and know how movies are made.

Overall, I'd say this movie is OK for the kind of budget used, but it didn't blow me away either.

Vincent Lemire

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