Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”
I don't necessarily mind a movie that criticizes America's lust for graphic bloodshed with two hours of graphic bloodshed; Natural Born Killers did it very well a decade ago. But I do mind a movie that takes such a bare-bones approach to it, providing a flimsy motive for its villain and no sympathy for its heroine beyond Diane Lane's natural likeability. Maybe the film could have worked better by taking place entirely on the web, a gimmick that would have echoed co-star Colin Hanks's turn in Alone with Her last year, or by showing many more of the people who choose to log into such a disturbing site, instead of one skateboarder and a chorus of obscene morons posting comments. Instead, it dramatizes the search for a moralizing killer through the perspective of a law enforcement agent who, though disgusted by his methods, registers virtually no opinion of his message. Without a proper vessel for its ideas, the film becomes an empty torture-porn knockoff with little entertainment value.
The plot turns are telegraphed well in advance, the killer's abilities exceed the suspension of disbelief, the archetypical clueless police-chief character is as dumb as ever, and the surprises are revealed with little ceremony, such as the killer's identity. This movie is worse than a thriller-by-numbers, because it can't even follow the numbers correctly. It gets points for a semi-plausible explanation of how a website could be made untraceable, and throws them away with such careless errors as a hacked car computer and a desktop computer that can serve tens of millions of hits in a minute. To paraphrase its chief idiot, any American who views this movie is an accomplice to crap.
Amy Austin: Heheh... I am simultaneously amused by the (expected, and deservedly so, I'm sure) sucking review and yet disappointingly motivated by the same morbid curiosity that provides the basis for what I think is a really sick plot. My reaction to the trailer was complete revulsion, but -- strangely enough -- your dismissive review gives me an inkling of desire to watch it... even though I am certain that I will agree with your conclusion! Rest assured, however, that I won't be paying theater or DVD or PPV money to be that crap accomplice. No, I'll do it the dirty, old-fashioned way that does the film its only possible justice... from the dark and can't sleep, late-night, nothing-else-on-TV privacy of my own home. And hopefully, I'll fall asleep on it. ;-D − February 7, 2008 more by Amy
Scott Hardie: Well, I sought out this movie because I work online, and I was curious to see how badly they mishandled the tech talk. Let's just say it's the kind of movie that refers to an "Internet Web Site" with a straight face. − February 7, 2008 more by Scott
Amy Austin: Yeah, I know... I remember your earlier comment on it in the Oscar Season discussion (before you saw it), and just from that alone I was expecting some suckitude in your review... ;-) − February 7, 2008 more by Amy
Amy Austin: Yep. I concur -- it sucked.
Did end up seeing it in the wee hours on cable... didn't fall asleep, but did get up to go to the bathroom and missed the whole ending. I was devastated. − June 26, 2009 more by Amy