Hostage is the latest film starring the man with the best bald head in Hollywood - Bruce Willis. Bruce stars as a hostage negotiator, Jeff, who is still haunted by the failure of a hostage situation that went wrong a year earlier. He’s estranged from his wife and daughter, and tries to get on with his life, as a police chief in a small town. The proper story begins when 3 young men break into a huge hilltop mansion, belonging to a crooked accountant. They take the accountant and his 2 children hostage, but mistakenly set off a silent alarm which seals the place like a fortress. The 3 men panic, and start shooting at the police who eventually arrive to see what has happened. Jeff gets involved in the siege as a hostage negotiator - much to his reluctance. Entering this drama is a mysterious 3rd party, who want Jeff to break into the mansion, and get something which belongs to them - if he doesn’t then his wife and child will die. So the race begins to save the hostages, get the villains, and see how many things get blown up in a Bruce Willis action fest!Bruce Willis has enjoyed a mostly successful career which has seen a lot of highs and a few lows. This year marks 20 years since he was first seen in the hit tv show, ‘Moonlighting’, and he used that show to leap into films to show off his easy going charm and tough guy action roles. The Die Hard films are probably his most famous films, which combined his charm and action to massive success. There will be a 4th Die Hard film made later this year, which proves that you cant keep a good character down! Willis has tried several times to branch into other roles, such as in The Sixth Sense, The Siege, Pulp Fiction, to name a few. Those films showed another side to his range, and proved that when he wants to be, he can be quite a good actor. His films that were disasters, such as Hudson Hawk, Colour of Night, and Striking Distance, even though they were camp trash, still have an appeal to them because of his easy going manner.

In his role of Jeff, Bruce Willis tries to extend his range further again, playing a guy who is haunted by his past and tries to find faith in himself again. If he can re-build his confidence again, and learn to let go of the past, he would be able to move on with his career and family life. The interference of the 3rd party into the hostage situation, just makes him more determined to succeed in his efforts. Willis gives a good performance in this, in a role which slowly builds up into an ‘action man’ part towards the end of the film.

The rest of the cast works well, with the men playing the 3 attackers giving the film a more realistic edge to it, amidst all the chaos and carnage. The man playing the accountant, Kevin Pollack, has done good work in several films before, such as The Usual Suspects, and gives a good performance here as well. The gang who kidnap Bruce Willis, wife and daughter, are mainly ‘unseen faces’, but their voices and action give the film a more menacing tone and a sense of urgency as well.

This is a pretty well put together drama/action film. It has generally good performances, and isn’t too predictable, which some action films can be. Once again, Bruce Willis gamely tries to extend his acting range, and succeeds mostly. This is a good film to see in the cinema, but an even better one to catch on dvd. A well put together ‘Brucie flick’!!!!!

Rating out of 10: 7

Comments Off

The Interpreter

Nicole Kidman stars as Silvia, an interpreter for the United Nations. One night, when she is alone in the UN building, she overhears a conversation about a plot to assassinate the leader of an African nation. She then finds herself in danger, as mysterious forces try to silence her, and succeed in their plan. She then gets protection from a federal agent, played by Sean Penn, who is getting over the death of his wife. Together they try to uncover who the would be assassins are, and foil their plan, while at the same time, confronting their own secrets and overcoming past mistakes.Sydney Pollack is the director of this film, and has directed many excellent films such as Out of Africa, The Firm, Tootsie, to name a few. The common thing that those films have with this one, is that they rely not just on the main ‘big stars’ of the film, but also the talented co-stars, who all help make things believable and make you care about what happens to the characters. The director himself makes a small appearance in this film, and is just as good at acting as directing.

Sean Penn gives an excellent performance in this, as the world weary agent trying to get over his loss of his wife. Penn has done some great performances in recent years, such as in Mystic River, which he won an Oscar for Best Actor. He makes the character very sympathetic, and you feel his frustration at trying to work out who he can trust as he delves further into the conspiracy. Nicole Kidman is great in this as well, playing a character who has many sides to her and she adds an edge to the character that makes you unsure if she is trustworthy or not. Kidman has been incredibly busy actress of late, doing what feels like a movie every week! Her next film coming out is the movie version of Bewitched - which may make some people run to the hills! However, for this film, she gives a very strong performance.

This film was filmed in the real United Nations building in New York and looks great. You are able to get a sense of where things are, and gives the film a realistic look that probably wouldn’t have been possible if they had just filmed it in an ordinary film studio. Also, parts of the film were shot in Africa, and the scenes there add to the tension and urgency of the story. The supporting cast in the film all match the performances of the 2 leads, and all help to move the action along at a steady pace.

The Interpreter is a well made exciting thriller with many twists and turns that keep you on your toes. The performances of everyone involved are first rate, as is the action scenes and scenery. The story draws you into the characters lives and you become involved in wanting to know what secrets some of them hide and how they can not only survive without being killed, but how to foil the assassination plot. An intelligent, enjoyable thriller.

Rating out of 10: 8

Comments Off