Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 


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 a 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 job. Every 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.

For the genre, Hostage is a winner. 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 outskirt 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 is in a dilapidated red pick up van, accompanied by his mate Dennis (Jonathan Tucker) and his kid brother Kevin (Marshall Allman), sees red when a 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 final crescendo is a real nail biter, with moments of almost unbearable tension.

There's an above average behind the scenes feature on the DVD, in which we get a sense of the many levels of the film and the relationship the actors had with each other. There are a string of deleted and extended scenes, with optional commentary by director Florent Siri, who also offers an audio commentary for the whole film. Hostage is a couple of notches above the average, offering solid entertainment for a couple of hours that simply flies.

Published September 1, 2005

Email this article

(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 (Robert Crais - novel)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci

EDITOR: Richard Byard, Olivier Gajan

MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat


RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes




SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary, taking hostage/behind the scenes, deleted scenes, extended scenes with audio commentary, trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 1, 2005

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020