Film Scouts Reviews


by Leslie Rigoulot

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Everyone I talked to recently wanted Ron Howard's "Ransom" to succeed and it certainly does. Mel Gibson is perfect as the loving dad who has built an airline out of taking chances and he keeps taking those chances when his only son is kidnapped. I'm not pleased with the Touchstone execs who decided to put the movie's big plot twist in the commercial, but at least I'm not giving anything away when I tell you that after the kidnapping Gibson decides to turn the tables on the kidnapper and offer a bounty on his head. That means that everyone who has seen the commercial (and I'm assuming that is 99% of America) is now waiting for the scene that is so dramatic that the exec just couldn't resist using it! Luckily, "Ransom" is also bolstered by numerous other plot devices and a superb cast. Rene Russo never gets center stage as Mom and corporate wife, but she certainly shines in those few moments when the light is cast her way. Delroy Lindo, who is becoming one of my favorite actors, gives his FBI agent heart and soul in a very limited space. I was particularly impressed with Evan Handler, who plays a balding, alcoholic hacker with a great sense of humor. He adds the light touches that break the tension in such a deft manner that I was starting to like him even if he was a kidnapper. Gary Sinise, Donnie Wahlberg (yes, the former New Kid on the Block), and indie favorite Lili Taylor are exceptional. Well, maybe it's Ron Howard who should get the lion's share of the credit. With "Apollo 13" he took a story that everyone knew and made a suspenseful hit, so we shouldn't be too surprised that he has taken a basic kidnapping story and made it the best edge-of-the-seat thriller this season. And if you ever doubted Mel Gibson's acting ability, just watch him roar as the father lion protecting his cub. "Ransom" is the movie that everyone will be talking about, so try to find a theater that isn't sold out and enjoy the tension.

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