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Today Only: "Mad Max Anthology (4 Film Collection) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)" for $25.99
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When their daughter suddenly goes missing and a mysterious gunman named Ryan shows up at their door, married Neil and Abby are thrust into a nightmare. In order to be reunited with their child, the pair must successfully complete a series of sociopathic chores masterminded by Ryan. But when they are tasked with murder, Neil and Abby are pushed to their breaking points. Gerard Butler, Mario Bello, Pierce Brosnan star.
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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.
I can't write more about this because I'll give away the plot. You deserve to be surprised. Sit back and prepare to be thrilled.
I don't recall this one getting much publicity or even its appearance in theaters so it really took me by surprise. In the film, a couple leaves home for a brief respite with their child in the care of a sitter. From there, the suspense builds, along with the news that their child has been kidnapped. I will only add that you need to pay close attention because what you see isn't always what you think.
I honestly can't reveal anything about the plot because, contrary to some reviewers on here, this is a solid mystery story that is a bit low-key and low-budget, hence, my "TV" film headline. The film is a lot of fun as Pierce Brosnan, previously known as James Bond, gives an outstanding performance as "the bad guy" in this film who takes great pride in torturing a couple that is well-played by Butler, The Phantom of the Opera and Bello, World Trade Center. I don't think his fans like him in such a role and that may be why this film suffered at the box-office just as his other excellently played bad guy role in The Matador which is definitely worth your viewing. Add in a low-budget feel to the film and I can see why some bulked at it, but it is so much better than most will expect if they give it a shot. Failure at the box-office does not mean the film is a failure or of no quality, just as great success at the box-office is no guarantee of a pleasurable experience either.
Well, I don't want to go on further and inadvertently give up any information that will lead people to figure out the mystery in this film, but it is very clever and you will be very perplexed until the end when you finally discover just why Brosnan's character is angry at this couple that he does the outlandish things that he does. It does stretch credibility at times, and the story is a bit contrived (like any mystery really is anyhow), but the performances and twists and turns of the plot should keep you glued to the screen.
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