Untraceable Is Thrilling but Pointlessly Gruesome
- Friday, January 25, 2008
In an attempt to justify its black heart, Untraceable pivots on the idea that the people who exploit human suffering deserve to suffer themselves, and that we, the audience, are all culpable in allowing for—even encouraging—violence and death. This is the film’s attempt, as it nears its conclusion, to make a socially responsible statement about humanity’s bloodlust. But the film we’re watching centers on human killing packaged as entertainment, with the requisite finale of fighting and finishing off the villain, which generated a hearty round of applause at the screening I attended.
The film wants it both ways. It wants to indict the very behaviors it encourages. How repulsive. Untraceable is certainly skippable and missable, but given the continued popularity of these kinds of stories, it won’t be the last time we’re exposed to this sort of thing.
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- Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; some profanity, and some jokes about online pornography; several profane posts are shown on a computer screen, as viewers react to the deaths of the victims; discussion of steamy online chats.
- Sex/Nudity: A woman’s bare upper back is shown as she cries in the shower.
- Violence: A kitten approaches a poisoned bowl of milk and is later shown laying dead beside the bowl; man is pulled into a van and later shown being tortured, with a Web site name carved into his chest; man is gagged, but blood gushes out of his mouth; a full body shot of the corpse after it’s disposed of; a victim is Tasered by the killer; a man is bound in cement while heat lamps are activated, blistering his skin until it flays; blood appears in a chemical solution as a man slowly dies; an FBI agent carries a loaded gun, and fires it; an FBI badge is pinned to a bare chest; decomposing corpses are shown; a videotaped suicide is shown several times, with the victim shooting himself then falling off a bridge.
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