RANSOM is probably Ron Howard's most fully realized film to date. Howard helms a tense, literate script, without letting its potential maudlin come through. Mel Gibson, who has "ruined" his career with the 350 million dollar+ gross of THE PASSION OF CHRIST (Notice tongue in cheek, folks) shows us what a powerfully commanding actor he can be. His role as the tortured, yet committed, father is beautifully performed. Mel doesn't parlay his looks into establishing his popularity. The Australian is a very good actor, and in some ways, has never been recognized for the fact. Rene Russo is amazing, too. Starting off in a cool, I've got things under control aura, she melts into a desperate, crazed, and passionate woman who loves her husband dearly, but can't believe he's risking their son's life. Gary Sinise once again brings a mercurial sense of villainy to his role as the mastermind behind the kidnapping, and his coldhearted murders only enforce his psychosis; Delroy Lindo as the head FBI agent gives a sturdy, tense and compassionate portrayal; Lili Taylor is devastating to watch as she crumbles under the pressure of her part in the kidnapping, but her cold hearted willignness to kill the little boy is frightening; Liv Schrieber and Donnie Wahlberg as the brothers are convincing, in view of their relatively little time on screen.
I liked this film a lot because it touched my emotions in the way a thriller of this type should. Nail bitingly good, it's one of Gibson and Howard's best works.