Ransom (15)

Directed by Ron Howard
Starring Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinese, Delroy Lindo, Lili Taylor

Rich, self made airline millionaire Tom Mullen(Gibson) and his wife(Russo) seem to have it all, but then their 10 year ols son Sean is kidnapped and they are plunged into a nightmare. After an attampt to hand over a $2 million ransom goes wrong, Gibson decides to change the rules and offers the money as a bounty on the heads of the kidnappers.
This tense thriller is a departure from Howards usual slightly schmaltzy all-American dramas. There is no trace of sentimentality in Gibson's Tom Mullen. He is a man who has got where he has by knowing when to pay up, and when to bend the rules. Gibson is perfect in the role, as he has that trace of manic-ness, an unpredictability that makes his character interesting. Russo gets top play the traditional Hollywood role of 'wife', with little to but stand by her man, except in one little bit of rebellion. No wonder actresses get pissed off. Gary Sinese gets a more intersting role as the cop who is the mastermind of the kidnap, and the talented but little seen Lili Taylor is a nasty villainess.
The tension builds well, up to the point where (SPOILER ALERT!) the boy is returned, but the last 15 minutes or so are an unnecessary addition so that Gibson and Sinese can get to face off. However, this is a well made drama. Gibson is always worth watching, the kid is not too cutesy and is not in it too much anyway, the criminals are a dysfunctional bunch, but quite interesting- not the average movie goons. But I wouldn't want to live in that horribly chilly and uncomfortable looking penthouse. If I had Gibson's wealth I'd have a nicer place! Worth seeing. 7.5/10

February 1997

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