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Sure, I saw a couple of the plot twists coming a mile away, but UNTRACEABLE ($39) still proves itself to be an entertaining and reasonably intelligent police procedural thriller. UNTRACEABLE stars Diane Lane as F.B.I. Agent Jennifer Marsh, who has hitched herself to the cyber-crimes unit, as this detail allows the single mom more parenting time. In between trying to catch the usual on-line scam artists and child molesters, Agent Marsh becomes aware of a website, which makes its debut with a streaming video that features the killing of a kitten. Of course, the subject matter attracts a large audience; with the hit count rising, the closer the animal came to death. Agent Marsh alerts her superiors to the nature of the web site, but they dismiss it as either being a hoax or just not important enough to warrant their resources.

As expected, ups the ante, streaming its video of a human victim next. Not surprisingly, this killing comes in a more grisly fashion than the last, with the victim being slowly tortured to death. However, the high tech killer has rigged their death apparatus to hasten the victimís death, as the web siteís hit count rises, thus blaming the audience for the killing- stating if no one visited the web site, the victim would still be alive. More deaths follow, and Agent Marsh finds herself heading up an inter-department task force that includes F.B.I. Agent Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks) and Portland PD Detective Eric Box (Billy Burke). Even with all the resources of the F.B.I. cyber-crimes unit, the killer has hidden his electronic trail so thoroughly that they have virtually rendered themselves untraceable. The cast of UNTRACEABLE also features Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Lewis, Tyrone Giordano, Perla Haney-Jardine, Tim De Zarn and Christopher Cousins.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made UNTRACEABLE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. UNTRACEABLE goes for a slightly stylized and somewhat gritty look that perfectly befits its subject matter. The 1080p presentation is a solid performer throughout, beautifully rendering the filmís intended look without problems. Image sharpness and detail are quite good, but the stylistic choices of the cinematography sometimes obscure the finest of the details. The color scheme favors a desaturated palette, with a slight skewing of some of the hues; however, the flesh tones appear fairly realistic. Blacks are dead on, whites are crisp and the contrast is intentionally harsh. Shadow detail is not exemplary, but appears related to how the film photographed and processed. The elements from which UNTRACEABLE has been transferred are perfectly clean. Grain is noticeable, but falls within expected levels.

UNTRACEABLE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Considering that much of UNTRACEABLE is talky police procedural, the mix is very good. The outlying channels are well utilized for a good deal of atmospherics; however there are key moments with more action were the sound effects are very well deployed. Music has a very strong presence, thanks to the excellent fidelity of the track. Sound effects are also highly convincing, plus the bottom end of the track has a great deal of depth. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. A French 5.1 Dolby TrueHD is also encoded onto the disc, as are Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the discís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Gregory Hoblit, producer Hawk Koch and production designer Paul Eads. Beyond The Cyber Bureau provides a picture-in-picture augmentation of said commentary (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Featurettes include Tracking Untraceable (a sixteen minute, interview based look behind the scenes), The Personnel Files (fifteen minutes of cast interviews), The Blueprint Of Murder (fourteen minutes on production design) and The Anatomy Of Murder (six minutes on makeup effects). Bonus Trailers close out the supplements.

While I am sure that genre buffs will see some of the plot twists coming a mile away, UNTRACEABLE provides plenty of entertainment value and benefits from the presence of leading lady Diane Lane. Sonyís Blu-ray presentation is excellent, faithfully rendering the filmís intended look without flaws. If you are a fan of thrillers and donít mind some gore, UNTRACEABLE comes recommended.



Untraceable [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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