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|Index||19 reviews in total|
Sadly neglected 70's thriller shot on location in Oslo, Norway. Sean
Connery looks great as "Scandinavian Security Chief" Nils Tahlvik, and
director Caspar Wrede has made some great use of Oslo scenery including
a West Side residential area, Oslo's City Hall and Fornebu
International Airport (which closed down in 1998). It's also nice to
see one of Norway's greatest stage actors, Knut Wigert, as Connery's
All though slow-moving at times this gritty looking thriller has a nice realistic flair to it, including some surprising plot twists along the way.
One final note: from a Norwegian point-of-view it's fun to see how much this British production has the look and feel of a 70's Norwegian film!
Update/comment on Mike's user comment with the headline "Boring Swedish hijacking action": I don't know where he gets all this "Swedish"-stuff as the movie is mainly shot on location in Norway, it has Norwegian actors in some of the supporting roles (most notably Knut Wigert and Alf Malland) and not one Swedish actor, and as IMDb states it is a British production. Sweden had nothing to do with it.
I cannot believe the negative comments I am reading here. This is a
complex, atmospheric and well-acted thriller, which fully captures the
1970s atmosphere of European terrorism, fashion and mannerisms.
The photography is stunning of the Norwegian snowbound landscapes, and Sean Connery gives one of his best performances.
And to cap it all there is a great - and I mean GREAT score by Jerry Goldsmith, one of this best.
Check the scene of the plane chase through the mountains, also the stylish montage of scenes involving London being struck by terrorism in the opening credits and the way the photofit of the terrorist leader gradually appears.
Goldsmith's score is so good, it is worth watching for that alone!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The main reason for watching this thriller on the Fox cable channel was
the cast. Not having a clue as to whether this movie was ever
distributed in this country, but the allure of actors like Sean Connery
and Ian McShane in its cast, proved to be the deciding factor for
watching this 1975 British production directed by Finnish director
Caspar Wrede. The film had the title "The Terrorists", in the version
After a series of bombs are detonated in London, we are taken to Oslo, where a group of terrorists have kidnapped the British ambassador to that country. The masked individuals demands are passed to the local security forces. Nils Tahlvik, the negotiator wants to put his own plan of action in place. There is a conflict with a British agent who wants to give in to the kidnappers' demands, something that Tahlvik doesn't want to do.
In the meantime, a commercial airliner, about to land at Oslo's old Fornebu airport is taken over by a group of hijackers. The captain takes a chance by making the tires of the plane blow up as they land. All attempts to surprise the kidnappers on board fail. As preparations begin to bring the ambassador and the men holding him to the aircraft, that by now has been fixed for an unknown flight, the police tries, unsuccessfully to send security forces masquerading as the criminals, but everything fails until the end when Tahlvik himself boards the aircraft and a surprise, that has been kept from us, is revealed.
The screen play by Paul Wheeler is confusing, at best. We don't have a clear picture of what is really going on, that is complicated by the ending in which that surprise comes out of nowhere regarding one of the hijackers and the duplicity of someone in the negotiating team.
Sean Connery is not at his best in the film. We get to see Mr. Connery as he looked at that time before any cosmetic enhancements, especially his teeth, which went through quite a change after this film was done. Ian McShane makes an interesting appearance as the evil Ray Petrie, who is in charge of the hijacking team on board the plane. Isabel Dean, has a good moment as the British ambassador's wife pleading with Tahlvik.
While the film is by no means horrible, it could have been probably better with another film treatment and a action director. The best thing in the movie is Sven Nykvist cinematography, which unfortunately doesn't quite show in its splendor because of the faded quality of the copy that was shown.
This film is also called The ransom, not to be confused with the mild
film with Mel Gibson.
The film set in the Scandinavian country (called Scandinavia in the movie, while it is shot in Norway), the snow atmosphere and the heavily dressed characters somehow dictated the slowness of the pace in the movie. Nevertheless, it's exciting. The whole look is not your conventional Hollywood actioner, while at the same time deserves the same class as that of the late sixties/early seventies crime/caper movies like Bullit, French Connection, Taking Pelham One, Two and Three and Dirty Harry.
Connery is fun to watch. He really adds to the atmosphere of the movie and the relatively tame climax looks good with his presence. Good movie. 7/10
The pros and cons of "The Terrorists" have been well aired in other
reviews. I liked the film, even if it was not a top tier thriller. What
did I like about it? It kept moving with different situations and
twists. The plot was a good one. It's inventive and reasonably
realistic in how the two sides behave. The behavior of the two sides
was rational, each in their own ways.
There was an interesting situation in which one group of terrorists had kidnapped the British ambassador and were making demands to get an airplane so that they could parachute to their hiding spot. There is then a plot twist concerning the secrecy of that spot that drives the action and links up to another band of terrorists friendly to the first. That group, led by McShane, hijacks an airplane and offers safe haven to the first group. This leads into a battle of wits and resources between Connery and McShane.
The performance of Sean Connery was highly watchable. He provided the most sparks. McShane was cool and in command at the plane.
A subplot led into an airplane chase through mountains that was nicely filmed.
I thought the film's tension was quite well maintained. There is a twist ending that has left some viewers disappointed. I think one has to understand that Connery is playing a Scandinavian military man and he has issues with the British, and that conflict also occurs at the higher diplomatic levels. Connery also has conflicts with his own higher-ups. Connery thought the British were playing too fast and loose with innocent lives in their scheme to capture the first group of terrorists.
I don't think this film is a bomb, as some do, or even to be ignored as others do. It's not up to its contemporary thrillers like "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" but few pictures are. Overall this is a respectable thriller, not dependent on gimmicks. It's not a comic caper movie or a comic eurospy kind of light movie. It's more serious, in fact, serious all the way through. It manages to stand on its own feet and survive the years, in my opinion.
Sean Connery plays Scandanavian military police chief Nils Tahlvik,
assigned to deal with a high jacked British plane that has landed at
their airport. The terrorists make various demands that Tahlvik must
meet if he wants to save the plane filled with passengers...
Undistinguished yarn has little going for it other than Sean Connery's commanding performance, and a surprise twist at the end that perhaps doesn't bear close scrutiny.... Regardless, though not at all bad, it contains little to make it memorable.
With all respect to Mr. Connery, were films like this and "Zardoz" worth giving up playing James Bond?
'The Terrorists' or also known as elsewhere in the world as 'Ransom' as i recall it being titled from the television showing i watched many years ago, Sean Connery stars in this Co-Production as a Scandinavian police chief(in typical Connery tradition has a Scottish accent!) who is called in to end the terrorists siege at an airport carried out by a gang of suit-clad Englismhmen led by the charismatic Ian McShane. His mission is complicated further when a second hostage situation arises at the nearby residence of the British Ambassador. 'Ransom' is an enjoyable and well acted potboiler which sadly remains underrated but fear not as it is readily available on DVD.
Strong performances by leads Sean Connery and Ian Mc Shane, backed good action segments, pacing and fine winter locations. Poor editing in some spots causes the film to seem a bit stiff as does some inferior dubbing. Nice twists. Connery's always a pleasure to watch, and Mc Shane's bad guy provides an interesting touch as the head terrorist.
I bought this movie only because I was curious what would Sean Connery
do in Swedish movie... Well, it turned out to be British movie filmed
in Norway, but the story takes place in Sweden. But that wasn't the big
After watching "Ransom" I was really surprised that I've never heard of this movie, because it was really good - intelligent, surprising and entertaining - what more could you expect from a thriller?? I was even more surprised when I saw how low the rates are in IMDb - perhaps some people were expecting lots of explosions and car chases, but instead it is brilliantly handled thriller which really worked for me :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Recap: The British ambassador is kidnapped by a known and ruthless
terrorist. He is responsible for many bombings with many civilian
deaths. So the British government is willing to accept the demands.
But, the problem is that they are not in England, but in Scandinavia.
The Scandinavian government first regards it as a British matter, but
when accomplices of the terrorist hi-jack a plane, it becomes their
problem. In charge of security is Colonel Tahlvik, and he is not about
to give in to any demands.
Comments: The first thing I noticed, or got stuck on, is the concept of Scandinavia. It is clearly set and filmed in Norway, why not let it be Norway. Why create an error, when you don't have to? Well, disregarding that, it is still a rather average thriller. It has some twists and turns. Quite a solid story actually with some details revealed in hindsight. But it is slow. Connery is strong as the main character, the powerful and resourceful Tahlvik, but he is almost too alone. The supposed terrorist is not his main opponent. The terrorists friend, the hi-jacker must be regarded as the main opponent, but it is divided among several characters, those just being two of them. The intention is clearly to force Tahlvik to battle on many fronts. Unfortunately the result is a lack of focus. No real opponent gives no real fight, and no real dramatic climax.
Some scenes, I think especially of the air-plane chase, is very beautifully filmed. However it doesn't add anything to the story. It seems the move provides one or the other. Story or picture. However, the really good movies provide both in the same scene.
The movie seems a little forgotten, especially considering that Connery is the lead man. Not his best work, but good enough. Works well enough for an evening, but probably won't stick with you forever.
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