My Rating: 8/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 38%
PLOT: Former hostage negotiator Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis) arrives at the scene of a home invasion gone wrong, only to find out his OWN family is being held hostage at a separate location by gangsters who want Talley to retrieve an important item from inside the house before the cops go in. Tricky.
WHY IT’S HERE:
I think it’s a nostalgia thing. This feels like one of those ’80s thrillers where you may have some nagging questions after the movie’s over, but they don’t occur to you DURING the movie (like “Jagged Edge”, for one). In other words, it’s a pure genre picture, not exactly high art, but it’s done rather well. Think “Panic Room” meets “Die Hard” meets “The Negotiator.” While it freely borrows elements from those films, “Hostage” manages to stay original when it comes to the creative ways Willis’s character must think around the obstacles in his way. I also liked the way the small boy trapped in the house was able to scurry through the walls and roof of this massive house using air ducts the size of sewer drains. Doesn’t make sense NOW, but during the movie, it’s kinda neat. The director, Florent-Emilio Siri, has (so far) made only this one film in English; all his other films are French. Maybe there’s something in the way the shots are framed, the way scenes are edited, that are skewed to a French “accent” that makes the film feel a little more unique than it really had to be. That’s a little highfalutin’-soundin’, but I think it applies here. This is a nice little diversion.
P.S. Ben Foster deserves mention for playing one of the more odious villains I’ve seen on film since Buffalo Bill.