Monday, December 27, 2010

'Hostage': One of Bruce Willis' best

Hostage (2005)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Ben Foster, Jimmy Bennett, and Kevin Pollack
Director: Florent Siri
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

The sad existence of Jake Talley, a burned-out police hostage negotiator (Willis) who has retreated to life as a small-town police chief is jarred when three hapless small-time thugs decide to engage in a little home-invasion/robbery. One of them, Mars (Foster), is a through-and-through psychopath and after he kills one of the town's police officers, the situation evolves into a hostage stand-off, with the home-owner, William Smith (Pollack), and his two children at the mercy of the killer. Unfortunately, Smith has something in his possession that a powerful international cartel of criminals need badly, and they take Talley's family hostage to force him into cooperating with them so they can retrieve their property. Will Talley manage to keep control and save all the hostages?

"Hostage" is a fantastic police thriller that features excellent acting, some really nice camerawork, and a near-flawless pace. I was particularly impressed with the way Smith's secrets are revealed, and then later the way they end up spilling over into Talley's life. Along similar lines, the gradual revealing of the depths of Mars' psychopathy is also expertly played... and his final rampage should earn him the respect of Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers!

The film gets a little far-fetched toward the end--basically, I'm not sure Talley would be able to pull off the final "negotiation", even given the way he has his officers running interference for him--but I don't think it's enough to ruin it. (I was also momentarily miffed that the film ends with no revelation of who or what the distant bad guys that were pulling Smith's strings were all about... but then I decided that it really didn't matter; the story wasn't about them anyway.)

"Hostage" was one of 2005's best thrillers. Check it out if you haven't already.

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