1 item from 2005
If Hostage looks a lot like a state-of-the-art French "policier" minus the pesky subtitles, the effect is purely intentional.
In his English-language debut, French director Florent Siri employs the same forceful, gritty style used for his 2002 film, The Nest, delivering a noir-tinged thriller with commercial aspirations.
The latter aspect is provided by Bruce Willis, who leads a similarly solid cast through the sharp twists and turns of Doug Richardson's script, based on the Robert Crais novel.
Sharing certain plot aspects with Panic Room, the picture should prove to be a moderate hit for Miramax, which has been buying a considerable amount of advance TV ad time in support of Willis' return to crime-fighting mode.
Willis is Jeff Talley, a former ace LAPD hostage negotiator, who, following the deaths of a mother and her young son, left Los Angeles and took a job as chief of police in a nominally low-crime area of Ventura County.
But he soon finds himself in the thick of things again after a trio of delinquent teenagers (Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker and Marshall Allman) hold a widowed, shady accountant (Kevin Pollak) and his two children (Michelle Horn and Jimmy Bennett) hostage following a bungled robbery attempt in their multimillion-dollar hilltop compound.
To further complicate matters, Pollak's Walter Smith is in possession of a disc containing digital information being sought by a particularly persuasive (federal?) outfit that has nabbed Talley's own estranged wife (Serena Scott Thomas) and daughter (Willis' real-life daughter, Rumer), to ensure that he delivers the goods.
Playing what is essentially an art house version of his Die Hard John McClane character, Willis wears the added layers of complexity effectively, as a reluctant hero struggling to clear a tricky path to redemption.
Also impressive is Foster in a change-of-pace turn as the creepy ringleader of the teenage assailants and scene-stealing young Bennett, who manages to fend quite nicely for himself in his fortress of a home.
Director Siri's heavily stylized visual approach translates successfully, at least before everything reaches an overly operatic third-act crescendo.
Contributing to the picture's edgy look is Italian cinematographer Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci, who was Siri's collaborator on The Nest, and production designer Larry Fulton, who worked on Willis' The Sixth Sense and succeeds in turning the sprawling Topanga Canyon compound into a bona fide character.
Miramax Films and Stratus Film Co. present a Cheyenne Enterprises production
An Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG II production in association with Syndicate Films International
Director: Florent Siri
Screenplay: Doug Richardson
Based on the book by Robert Crais
Producers: Mark Gordon, Robert Yari, Bruce Willis, Arnold Rifkin
Director of photography: Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci
Production designer: Larry Fulton
Editors: Olivier Gajan, Richard J.P. Byard
Costume designer: Elisabetta Beraldo
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Jeff Talley: Bruce Willis
Walter Smith: Kevin Pollak
Mars Krupcheck: Ben Foster
Dennis Kelly: Jonathan Tucker
Kevin Kelly: Marshall Allman
Jennifer Smith: Michelle Horn
Tommy Smith: Jimmy Bennett
MPAA rating: R
Running time -- 113 minutes »
1 item from 2005
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