Friday, February 08, 2008

Cyber Dyin’: Diane Lane Tracks a Killer Who’s “Untraceable”

I recently watched the 1970s movie “Network.” That movie was a satire about the television industry that was way ahead of its time. It’s probably one of the least dated movies in that it’s story is just as relevant today as it was back then. It was about a woman (Faye Dunaway) who worked at a TV network who would put anything on the air to get ratings. She’d put on some crazy guy who talked about wanting to commit suicide on live TV and she insists that’s what viewers want to see. In the cyber-thriller “Untraceable” a killer is broadcasting his victims online and the more visitors to his website the quicker the victims die. What is learned in the movie is that there are some sick people out there. But what the movie doesn’t realize is that anyone who sees the film is just as sick as those who would go to the website.

Of course that sounds strange coming from me, the some person who would rather watch “Hostel Part II” than “Citizen Kane.” The problem with Untraceable isn’t that it reveals in showing graphic murders, but it thinks it’s being profound in the process. It thinks it’s saying something about our society. It isn’t really. It’s just as cheap as any teen slasher movie and those movies we know aren’t trying to say a damn thing except: “Look at this bloody breasts!”

Untraceable follows Diane Lane’s character who works in the cyber crimes division of the FBI. She finds guys who send computer viruses and who steal peoples financial information. You know the types. Her partner in crime fighting is none other than Tom Hanks’ son Colin Hanks. He seems rather young to be an FBI guy but tells me he’s 30. Geez I wonder if he still gets carded. Anyways, they get inside tip about a website that is being broadcast from the area live. The camera shows a man with cuts on his chest. He’s bleeding. The wounds don’t appear to be too fatal except that he’s slowly being fed a drug that will stop his blood from clotting. The more visitors to this website ( which in real life turns out to be the film’s official website) the more drugs released into this guy’s body and the quicker he bleeds to death. He’s dead in less than a day.

Soon more victims are dead and the website’s numbers begin to grow, not surprisingly, at an alarming rate. All those visitors must be big fans of so-called “torture porn.” They enjoy getting off on seeing others suffer and die. And wouldn’t you know there are people out there who like seeing people suffer. I never would have guessed. Pretty soon we have a game of cat and mouse as this quickly becomes a personal vendetta between the killer and Diane Lane. It’s only a matter of time before Lane is hanging upside-down above a thrashing set of mechanical blades.

The film as a whole is rather predicable and doesn’t really add anything new to the genre, but it’s a decent watch. It has a few genuine thrills up its sleeve and I was never bored by the proceedings. However in a day and age when the Internet can showcase wonderful pieces of entertainment, it surprises me why anyone would want to check out “Untraceable.” GRADE: C+


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