Firewall (DVD)

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Firewall (DVD)

Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is an average family man in Seattle who heads up the hi-tech security team at his local bank. But following a seemingly...

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Review of "Firewall (DVD)"

published 01/11/2006 | bilbob20
Member since : 08/03/2004
Reviews : 117
Members who trust : 7
About me :
32 from Glasgow, love films - so you'll probably only ever see me write about them lol
Pro Good intense performances from the leads
Cons Robert Patrick completely underused
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"Break down the firewall for an enjoyable thriller"

IT expert Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) finds himself in a spot of trouble when his wife and two kids are held hostage in their high security home, with the demand being that he helps a sophisticated group of organised criminals break into the mega-secure system that he helped design to protect the bank. Going through the motions, Jack at first is resourceful in his attempts to free his family and not land himself in trouble with the company he has been loyal to for 20 years, but finds himself outwitted by the brilliantly refined leader of the kidnappers Bill (played perfectly by a cool Paul Bettany) at every turn. Accepting that the only way he can save his family is to relent and assist the group, but as every movie protagonist knows, there is just no way a clever criminal is going to allow you to see his face and live. Framing Stanfield for murder, and explaining the mysterious disappearance of his family is all in a days work, and made easier by the fact that his boss (Robert Patrick) just doesn't like nor trust him.

Resulting in a bloodbath, this explosive thriller twists its way from the Mission Impossible style opening sequence to the gun toting finale. Relying on the audience buy in to todays IT-minded technology (a unique use of a fax scanner and an Ipod will tap into the teenage audience's mindset everywhere), Stanfield has to find a way using the cyber world to outwit Bill and save his family. This is a fast paced thriller that has great performances from its leads. Harrison Ford has perfected the art of the everyman caught between trying to do the right thing and saving his own from harm. Paul Bettany is cool and icey as the twisted but likeable villain of the piece. The interesting thing about this film is that even the villains are fairly likable and none of them are out and out nasty. When one of the villains is asked by the teenage daughter of Jack why he hates them he replies "I don't hate you, I just don't care about you" and that sums up what the director tries to achieve by making all of the characters well rounded and believable. The weak links are actually Jack's family, none of whom are given any kind of character development, and are there purely for the purpose of giving Jack something to actually save. You get the impression it wouldn't have mattered much if it were his family or his dog he was saving, just as long as it gave him something to fight for. The director Richard Lochraine eases between the action sequences and the more vulnerable scenes though, and its too his credit that you actually end up routing as much for Bill to get the money as you do for Jack to get his family back.

The DVD extra's are fairly limited. There is a making of style commentary between the director and Harrison Ford, and a writing process of how the film was written, as well as the trailer, but little else of very much interest. The DVD is worth buying just for the film itself though. Its available from most retailers from £6.97 upwards.

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  • RazzaLazza published 01/11/2006
    Short and to the point, a well written review. :-)
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Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is an average family man in Seattle who heads up the hi-tech security team at his local bank. But following a seemingly trivial case of identity theft, Jack's life is turned upside-down when he discovers that his wife (Virginia Madsen) and two kids have been kidnapped. The ransom? A mere 100 million dollars, which the kidnappers, led by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), want Jack to obtain for them via his expert computer skills. Initially compliant, Jack is soon irked by Cox and his cronies to the point where he decides to get his family back and bring the bad guys to justice. British Director Richard Loncraine (WIMBLEDON) uses this basic premise to orchestrate a number of frantic set-pieces, while Ford concocts a character similar to his take on Dr. Richard Kimble in THE FUGITIVE. With a mouthful of computer jargon and nimble fingers that tumble frantically over a keyboard whenever he's in front of a computer, Ford's character is an unlikely action hero. Meanwhile, Bettany's bad guy gives subtly sinister instructions in his clipped British accent, Robert Forster (JACKIE BROWN) provides a likeable if underused ally for Ford, and Madsen slots neatly into her wife-in-peril role. As the film builds to an explosive climax Loncraine dumps the gadgets and carves out a delirious romp through action-movie conventions, ultimately infusing an old-fashioned story with a twist of 21st-century techno-fear.


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