Untraceable appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Despite some small problems, the transfer usually looked quite good.
Very few issues affected sharpness. A few shots seemed a little blocky and ropy, but most of the flick demonstrated good accuracy and precision. No issues with shimmering or edge enhancement occurred, and except for a small speck or two, source flaws remained absent. Grain could be a bit heavy, but that appeared to be a style choice.
Speaking of that, the film’s palette went down a highly stylized path. The movie emphasized a heavy blue tint that left little room for other hues. Although the monochromatic nature of the flick was a tired stylistic conceit, the DVD replicated the tones well. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows were pretty good; they seemed appropriately dense. Overall, the image satisfied.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Untraceable, it worked fine for the flick. The movie didn’t boast many chances for engulfing multi-channel material, but it used the five speakers in a satisfactory manner. A few outdoors sequences – such as those that featured various cars and helicopters or thunderstorms – showed nice use of the sides and surrounds; they blended together well and created a good sense of place. Nothing spectacular emerged from the soundfield, but the material fit the story.
Audio quality was solid. Music showed nice range and clarity, as the score was consistently bright and full. Effects also came across as accurate and concise; some good low-end emerged from both effects and music. Speech was natural and distinctive at all times. Though this never became a memorable mix, it was more than acceptable.
In terms of extras, we start with an audio commentary from director Gregory Hoblit, producer Hawk Koch and production designer Paul Eads. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. They discuss shooting in Portland, cast and performances, sets and production design, accuracy and working with the FBI, various effects, story and editing, and a few other details.
The commentary covers the various topics in a decent manner, though I think it’s awfully dry much of the time. The participants loosen up as it progresses, but the “nuts and bolts” emphasis makes it a bit tedious. Still, the filmmakers offer a reasonably informative take on the film; they just fail to provide a particularly enjoyable chat.
Four featurettes follow. Tracking Untraceable goes for 15 minutes, 44 seconds and offers the standard combination of movie clips, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We get notes from Koch, Hoblit, screenwriters Mark R. Brinker, Robert Fyvolent and Allison Burnett, and producers Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi. The show looks at the story’s origins and aspects of the script and story, getting Hoblit as director, notes about the film’s use of technology and work with the FBI, and thoughts about the film’s premise.
The best parts of “Tracking” look at the script. We get good insights into the screenplay’s growth and various permutations, and we find interesting facts about changes that came with different drafts. The rest of the show is more ordinary, but it’s still worth a look.
For the 15-minute and five-second Untraceable: The Personnel Files, we hear from Hoblit, Koch, Rosenberg, Lucchesi, and actors Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Perla Haney-Jardine and Mary Beth Hurt. “Files” covers the cast, characters, performances, and Hoblit’s style as director. Like most programs that concentrate on actors, this one comes packed with a lot of happy talk. It includes some interesting thoughts about research and real-life inspirations for the roles, but it doesn’t give us much to keep us intrigued.
The Blueprint of Murder lasts 13 minutes, 31 seconds and features Hoblit, Koch, Eads, Rosenberg, Lucchesi, set decorator Cindy Carr, location manager Jennifer Dunne, and special effects coordinator Larz Anderson. “Blueprint” covers production design and sets, locations, and related topics. Some of the info repeats from the commentary, but there’s enough unique material here to make “Blueprint” worthwhile.
Finally, The Anatomy of Murder runs five minutes, 44 seconds and provides statements from Lucchesi, Hoblit, Koch, and special make-up effects artist Matthew Mungle. This one looks at how the filmmakers created the gruesome killings in the flick. It’s short but quite informative.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Blu-ray Disc, Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Vantage Point, and Starship Troopers 3: Marauder. These also appear in the Previews area along with promos for Hancock, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Cleaner, Hero Wanted, The Tattooist, Youth Without Youth, Perfect Stranger, Vacancy, and The Forgotten. No trailer for Untraceable appears here.
I wanted to like Untraceable, as I enjoy the serial killer genre. It serves as a sub-standard entry in that field, though. It borrows liberally from superior predecessors and insults the audience with its relentless stupidity. The DVD provides good picture and audio along with a mix of fairly informative supplements. There’s nothing wrong with this release, but the movie itself is a major disappointment.