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Untraceable in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Untraceable

THE STARS:
Diane Lane • Colin Hanks • Billy Burke
DIRECTOR: Gregory Hoblit

Diane Lane THE CONCEPT:
Special Agent Jennifer Marsh (Lane) works for the FBI in its war on cyber-crime, where a tech-savvy Internet predator is displaying his graphic murders on his own website – and the fate of each of his tormented captives is left in the hands of the public: the more hits his site gets, the sooner his victim dies.

U.S. RELEASE: January 25 2008, Nationwide • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

GREGORY HOBLIT:
Gregory Hoblit“I’d done a lot of procedural stuff, Hill Street Blues, LA Law, and my dad was a FBI agent for 26 years. I read this script and while the story was solid and the characters were interesting, I just knew that the FBI stuff wasn’t right. I then made the assumption that the cyber stuff wasn’t right, and that being the heart and soul and the engine of the movie, the FBI’s use of all their techniques to go and get the bad guys, or to stem the tide, I just needed to get it right. By pure circumstance the FBI, and EJ Hilbert, who was with the bureau at the time, were holding seminars at the Federal Building in Westwood, where they were introducing the community, in a post-9/11 way, to what they were doing in all kinds of areas, and this one night was devoted to cyber-crime. And the way E. J. ran his mouth, I said, ‘There’s the key into this movie,’ if I could ask him, ‘Is this possible or not possible?’ I had a great need to make sure that this was leak-proof, that nobody could say, ‘Oh please.’”

DIANE LANE on Jane Brillheart, a special agent with the FBI for 20 years, who worked closely with her:
Diane Lane“I felt quite accountable to real people, and meeting her set the standard really high. I had great respect for not only her choices of a career, but how seriously she took it. When I saw the amount and the nature of the type of white collar crime that the internet involves, I was so grateful that there are literal employed angels who are interfering with these people.”

COLIN HANKS (Special Agent Griffin Dowd):
Colin Hanks“We were given pretty incredible access to some of the FBI field agents whose jobs are what our characters do, essentially cyber-policing the internet, and I was able to spend some time with an agent the same age as me, married with two kids, whose job was essentially to go undercover online and capture pedophiles. It helped me round out what my relationship to Diane’s character was in terms of working partners. On the surface my character seems like the guy that was just supposed to be there and be funny and crack jokes, but I realized that these agents deal with such graphic, disturbing material, some of which they showed me and it’s absolutely atrocious, and I wondered how they could turn this off when they went home, and by observing the two FBI agents, they used humor quite a bit.”

HOBLIT:
“I think Diane is very gifted, I fell in love with her when she did A Little Romance, didn’t we all? But over the years she’s grown into being such a substantial woman, that she’s not going to look weird carrying a gun and a badge, and when she opens her mouth there’s a degree of authority about her. She has kids and she’s a really good mom, and I think part of the reason she jumped on this bandwagon was the fact that she had kids, and this was relevant to that.”

LANE:
“There’s nothing scarier about being a modern parent than the invention of that alternate universe [the internet] that young people today feel is theirs and they’re entitled to it at any time of the day, all day long.”

HANKS:
“I think I’m more of a ‘techie’ than Diane, because I am the first generation that actually took a computer class in school. But I never really used e-mail that much until I was in New Zealand doing King Kong for 10 months, because then I was forced to communicate that way. Before that I was convinced that the Internet was created for bored people at work.”

LANE:
“I think the premise of the film is frightening and the violence of the film is equally frightening in a different way. R rated violence is kind of a prerequisite for thriller entertainment. It’s not typically something that people would associate with me, but I was happy to play the good guy coming up against the bad guy and definitely by the time we actually get him I’m glad it’s me, because it would be good to eliminate somebody like that.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #692, February 2008 cover

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