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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - Edition No 917 

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HOSTAGE

SYNOPSIS:
When a young boy and his mother are killed in negotiations that go horribly wrong, top LAPD hostage negotiator Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis) is a broken man, taking the low-profile job as chief of police in the sleepy town of Bristo Camino. When three delinquent teenagers (Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker and Marshall Allman), follow accountant Walter (Kevin Pollak), his daughter Jennifer (Michelle Horn) and son Tommy (Jimmy Bennett) to their multi-million dollar home, intending to steal their car, Talley's quiet life changes. The high-security premises go into high alert, and the panicking teenagers take the family hostage. Talley is forced to take charge when wife and daughter (Serena Scott Thomas and Rummer Willis) become involved.

Review by Louise Keller:
Bruce Willis is 'the man' in Hostage, a big budget top action thriller that delivers every expectation. And Willis is the right man for the job. Ever since the superb Die Hard franchise, Willis has claimed the role of the reluctant hero. Not that his former SWAT member and expert hostage negotiator Jeff Talley is anything like Die Hard's John McClane, but when Talley tells the three teenage delinquents they are in the wrong house at the wrong time, the line doesn't go unnoticed.

Hostage is a winning example of the genre. The pace is relentless, Florent Siri's direction is excellent and Alexandre Desplat's score is effective without being predictable. From the striking black, white and red opening credits that grabs our attention, we are immediately connected to Talley, a man struggling to cope with life, after a young boy hostage and his mother are killed on his watch. His life falls apart. He takes a desk job running the local police force of a sleepy town, while his marriage and relationship with his teenage daughter (played by his real-life daughter Rummer) disintegrate. But one day everything changes. Mars (Ben Foster), a sadistic trouble maker in a dilapidated red pick up van, accompanied by his mate Dennis (Jonathan Tucker) and his kid brother Kevin (Marshall Allman), sees red when Jennifer (Michelle Horn), a curvaceous young girl, rejects his vulgar advances by silently mouthing off her repulsion. The youths follow Jennifer, her young brother Tommy (Jimmy Bennett) and father Walter (Kevin Pollack) to their remote mansion fortress and very soon we learn Walter hasn't made the millions of dollars in his safe from being an honest accountant.

Tension builds as Walter and his two kids become hostages in their own home. But the perpetrators get more than they've bargained for with a house filled with security cameras, safes and secret passages. When Talley arrives at the scene, he is keen to hand the reigns to the assigned negotiator, but there's a hostage within the hostage situation, when Talley's own personal relationships come into play. All the performances are excellent and the stakes climb higher and higher as we learn more and more about the characters. Bennett's Tommy is refreshingly natural as the youngster who gives Talley inside information as he scrambles through the mansion's maze of secret passages. The lead up to the climax is a real nail biter, with moments of almost unbearable tension.

Hostage is a couple of notches above the average, offering solid entertainment for a couple of hours that simply fly.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HOSTAGE (MA)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Jimmy Bennett, Michelle Horn, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Marshall Allman, Serena Scott Thomas, Rumer Willis

PRODUCER: Mark Gordon, Arnold Rifkin

DIRECTOR: Florent Siri

SCRIPT: Doug Richardson (novel by Robert Crais)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci

EDITOR: Richard Byard, Olivier Gajan

MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Larry Fulton

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 14, 2005







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