Please keep in mind that I am one of a handful of people that saw this film ON THE BIG SCREEN IN A MOVIE THEATER instead of just on TNT, butchered for television, with commercial interruptions. It is much better the way it was intended to be seen. After seeing the film twice ON THE BIG SCREEN during its limited release, these are my comments:
Imagine a Yuppie Gerard Butler. Great looking. Confident. Successful. Gorgeous wife. Beautiful sweet daughter. The perfect life in upscale suburban Chicago. Enter mysterious menacing stalking stranger and their worst nightmare begins. He threatens the life of their daughter as insurance for their obedience to his demands.
Sound like the typical 'kidnapped kid' flick? It's not.
It's taut, suspenseful, edge of your seat storytelling combined with good solid performances by all, especially Bello and Brosnan. Butler is very good, but I've seen him better. I believe he filmed this on the heels of the grueling demands of 300 and it shows a bit. He may not be at the very top of his game here, but he still performs well.
Brosnan upped his credibility as an actor for me in this film. He played the menacing stranger perfectly. Just the right tone of voice and facial expressions, joined with his eyes and body language, spoke in unison to perfection in every scene. I'd really like to see more from him, he is a very good dramatic actor. I like him better as an older, mature man. More gritty, less suave.
Maria Bello is perfect as the mother held hostage by mother love and the need to protect her child at all costs.
I loved the score. Where you might expect a really intense, gritty score, this one opts for a quieter one with a hint of bluesy undertones and it works. It intensifies at the right moments, but never takes a front seat as often happens in thrillers. It melds with the action and helps makes each scene into an audiovisual, emotional emulsion.
In fact, the whole film is just quieter than one would expect, given what is usually served up with films of this genre. There are no car chases, no last minute rescues, no heroes. It never goes over the top. It has its feet on the ground and its eyes on what's human and real.
This film is no dud. Even though it had a very limited release, it is not the fault of the filmmakers or the actors. It is good movie-making. You may not think it's one of the best films you've ever seen, but there's a good chance you'll be satisfied that you got your money's worth. I give it a definite thumbs up.
Scale of 1-10? I give this an 8.
Warning: DON'T read much about this film. DON'T watch the trailer over and over. The less you know going in, the better your experience of it will be. Because of one seemingly innocuous remark made by someone who'd seen it, I guessed the ending about halfway through. I wasn't even trying. But things we hear stick in our minds whether we like it or not. I sincerely wish I had not guessed correctly. The rest of the film lost it's suspense for me.
Hint: This is a two timer. It's even better the second time.