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Stand Off More at IMDbPro »April One (original title)

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Suspense Thriller Loses Steam

4/10
Author: baker-9 from United States
21 March 2001

Found this movie at the local public library in a VHS edition entitled "Stand Off." Story involves an emotionally troubled man named David Maltby (Stephen Shellen) who takes as hostage Jane Briscoe (Djanet Sears), a minister at the Bahamian consulate in Ottowa. His demands: turn a local empty space into a shelter for homeless women & children, and set free a good friend still in prison.

The local police superintendent John McCowan (David Strathairn) tries to negotiate with Maltby while fending off attempts by the Canadian Mounties to take over the situation and shoot Maltby.

Eventually, Briscoe learns to empathize with Maltby and the long-standing emotional issues that fuels his behavior, and talks him down. While this is an interesting angle, the film fails to make it truly credible, despite the efforts of the actors. And this turn in events winds up robbing the film of suspense as it becomes clear that Briscoe is no longer in any real danger.

Stephen Shellen bears no small resemblance to Charlie Sheen, and is stuck with a role that includes many surface details about Maltby's past, but little that truly illuminates the man's motives for his desperate act. Sears displays a nice low-key strength. Strathairn is always a welcome presence, but his character's ability to effect events is undermined halfway through the film.

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