Sunday, 14 February 2016


Subtlety’s 4 sissies!

Here’s a review from the June 2008 issue of BLACK STATIC magazine.

Taking a different viewpoint on the why-are-we-watching theme, Gregory Hoblit’s UNTRACEABLE pits FBI cyber-crime detective Jennifer (Diane Lane, Hollywoodland), against a young ‘genius’ hacker that gets his online jollies offering Internet users a chance to ‘participate’ in snuff-video murders. Uploading a Saw database module to William Malone’s FeardotCom matrix, this is a competent, yet undistinguished, techno-chiller, eagerly focusing on attention to detail (jargon, hoaxes, security, and ideas) rather than just simplemindedly co-opting right-wing moral outrage at what unfettered freedoms and easy access to multimedia consumer-gadgets make permissible.

There are grating lapses in logic and good sense, as the usually cautious heroine wanders stupidly into danger, but palpable horrors abound when a spate of kidnappings leads to deadly game web-casts viewed by millions of Americans. Genre fans might expect superior material from the director of Fallen and Frequency, and Untraceable is not lacking in production values, and casting a mature leading lady amongst its relatively nondescript supporting players (Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Peter Lewis), means this admittedly ‘sensationalist’ plotline appears well-grounded in a convincing reality, without pointlessly-eccentric characters or incongruous Hollywood glamour to distract us from confronting the cold brutality of the torments and the initial helplessness of even tech-savvy cops to stop the killings.  

It’s not half as entertaining as Jonathan Demme’s great Silence Of The Lambs, or as much twisted fun as Jon Amiel’s Copycat, but, as a meticulously unprejudiced social commentary upon the genuinely worrying rise of online transgressions, it certainly makes overblown fantasy-actioner Die Hard 4.0 look sillier than ever.

Also reviewed on Black Static #5:
Eyes Without A Face
The Sentinel
30 Days Of Night
Blade: The Series
Blood Ties
Needful Things
When Evil Calls
Buried Alive
The Graveyard
Mother Of Tears
The Cellar Door
Five Across The Eyes
Black Water
The Fly

No comments: