Release Date: January 25, 2008

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, September 26, 2007
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On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
7/10 Amanda Jones When is Hollywood going to learn that consumers want realistic, smart movies about technology?
46/98 David Mumpower Underrated thriller offers its fair share of surprises but the ending leaves a lot to be desired. All build-up, little payoff.
178/196 Max Braden Thrillers just aren't thrilling when you know right where they're going.

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Poor Ashley Judd. She used to be queen of the serial killer genre; now she just sits around a hotel room all day with imaginary bugs under her skin. And it's a shame, because Untraceable is a classic "Ashley Judd" movie - they just forgot to cast her.

In her place is Judd-in-training Diane Lane, coming off of a pair of underperformers in Hollywoodland and Must Love Dogs. She plays Jennifer Marsh, an FBI agent who monitors the Internet for illegal activity. She becomes tangled up with one of those pesky serial killers when he creates a Web site to toy with the Feds, and gradually focuses his attention on her. Lane is joined by Colin Hanks, Mary Beth Hurt, and Running With Scissors' Joseph Cross.

Untraceable's director is the adorably named Gregory Hoblit. Hoblit has proven to be a sort of reliable middlebrow director, since his feature debut, Primal Fear. His movies, including Frequency, Hart's War, and last spring's Fracture, tend to be simple entertainment, not too flashy stylistically, or challenging intellectually. I kind of think that Hoblit's the guy you hire when you're looking for a solid double.

There's no reason to expect anything more or less from Untraceable. The "taunting killer" has similarities to both Fracture and Primal Fear. And Diane Lane played a Secret Service agent in Murder at 1600, so she's been down this path before. The wild card here for me is Hanks. He seems like an affable enough young man, heretofore mostly known for his everykid performance in Orange County. I don't know if he's playing the killer or not, but that might be an interesting choice.

In any case, I guess we should expect a perfectly adequate thriller, with the obligatory twists and turns, double crosses, etc. I'm sure Untraceable will fit right in with, say, Along Came a Spider when they play back to back on Lifetime in a couple of years. (Shane Jenkins/BOP)

Vital statistics for Untraceable
Main Cast Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Erin Carufel
Director Gregory Hoblit
Screenwriter Allison Burnett, Robert Fyvolent, Mark R. Brinker
Distributor Sony/Screen Gems
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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