A Taken ripoff without the action? It could work, I suppose, but the replacement of Pierre Morel's demented but fluid vision of post-9/11 America condensed and exploded back out once more with wan character drama and an obvious sense of moral superiority makes for an oppressively dull film. The film almost seems afraid of itself, shrinking back from its intermittent moments of action of any kind so as not to do anything that might undermine its simplicity of vision. Garishly awful cinematography should give anti-digital types fodder for weeks; the Arri Alexa has, to my awareness, never been used to produce such an awful image, textureless and soullessly lit. The best that can be said for it is that it doesn't attach a dreary political message to these dim proceedings. Or maybe it does: the dialogue in this movie is so stiff and so dispassionately rendered that I couldn't remember any of it even minutes later. Taken may flirt with self-parody, but at least it has a point of view. This tries to be thriller, melodrama, humanist study and social corrective, and it fails at all of them.