Lane skillfully sells the tech-heavy script. But after a much-too-early reveal of the murderer's identity, the 'low battery' signal starts to flash on this film by thriller specialist Gregory Hoblit.
As Untraceable descends into the progressively more perverted territory, it begins to practice the very hypocrisy it condemns in its audience, engaging in the rancid voyeurism it pretends to abhor.
Hoblit and veteran cinematographer Anastas Michos try to darken the proceedings by giving us nocturnal characters and Portland at its grayest. But it's window dressing, just like the layers of computer geek-speak that can't disguise an analog-age plot.
Untraceable hasn't the brains of a class-act psychothriller like Silence of the Lambs, and lacks the balls to juice up the trashy verve of the Saw series. Stuck in the middle, it leaves everyone stranded, actors and audience alike.
This joyless thriller runs the gamut from unconscionable through unwatchable to unendurable. It's also unfathomable that two talented people, Diane Lane and her director, Gregory Hoblit, got themselves involved in such an unpromising enterprise.
In addition to being dull, Untraceable is a monster hypocrite, wagging its finger at the mass audience's appetite for strictly regimented, 'creative' torture scenarios. This film is not really in a position to point a finger.
An abhorrent cyberthriller starring a compelling Diane Lane, the film exploits the inhumanity of torture as it cynically condemns Internet rubberneckers (and by extension, moviegoers) for watching it online.
There's a good movie to be made about the power of the virtual mob, the ethical consequences of participating in it, the costs of free will. But Untraceable isn't it, not by a long shot.
The movie chides us for being a sick voyeuristic society, hungry for the sight of violence. The purity of this moral stance is somewhat clouded by the movie's habit of staging sick violent acts.