With Hollywood constantly churning out thrillers with obligatory "surprise endings," it's great to see a satisfying conclusion that doesn't make the movie fold like a house of cards. Do not mistake this for another bi-annual Ashley Judd clunker; this one is actually worth checking out. Taking Lives follows the investigation of a Montreal serial killer who adopts the identity of his victims. Angelina Jolie plays an FBI criminal profiling whiz called in to help the hapless Canadian police force. The murderer's mother (Gena Rowlands) is the only person who might be able to identify the psychopath after all the physical and behavioral alterations he has undergone over the years. The plot thickens as some of the local police would prefer the FBI not interfere, but Agent Illeana's sly tricks and techniques prove her mettle -- or do they?
Ms. Tomb Raider has turned in her tight silver outfit for street clothes and is amazingly believable -- and more stunning than ever -- as she outshines the rest of the cast (including a quirky Ethan Hawke playing a prime witness). The visuals and the music by Phillip Glass are chilling, and the camerawork has the viewer squinting for anything that might incriminate a character. Despite some leftover loose ends, this movie provides some hardy chills and frights -- even if you just came for the cameo of Angelina's right breast.
-- Mats Olsen