Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Bruce McGill
What's it about
A woman and her daughter are held hostage (hey, thatís the title!) by some bank robbers, who force mom to rob her own bank. They live through the experience, but surviving the ordeal just ainít easy.
Is it good movie?
Bank robbing movies never go out of style. America has been held captive against this phenomenon for the last hundred years. Sure, it isnít like the 1930s anymore, but robbing banks always makes for an interesting storyline. Here, in Held Hostage (supposedly based on a true story), it does an excellent job of setting things up as the thieves are elaborate in planning out their kidnapping, the robbery, and their escape perfectly. But the movie is missing an important element. Sustained tension. After the robbery is complete, which takes place in the first 30 minutes, the movie loses its edge. Instead of watching the robbery slowly unfold, itís over very quickly. The rest of the film sees director Grant Harvey attempting to steer it in a different direction than the average heist plot, attempting to add intrigue and mystery. See, after the robbery is complete the mom and daughter go free, the rest of Held Hostage develops out of suspension as to why the police think our mother is in on the plot. Harvey does a decent job adding suspense, but he shot his wade in the first half. The tension, the fear of being held hostage by men in masks threatening to slaughter her daughter, isnít there after they are set free. Its muscles get deflated. Its strength is gone. It canít stand up straight. Get it? The movie loses its edge.
Regardless of the plot, the acting here mostly is quite good. Julie Benz, the chick from the last Rambo movie, is effective as the mom. Bruce McGill, one of those hey-itís-that-guy actors, plays the perfect jerk as a detective who wonít believe her story. My only problem comes with Brendan Penny as the mastermind thief. Heís a little too run of the mill and never stands above the standard crook. And in a heist movie, the crook better be a damn good one.
Video / Audio
Video: A crisp and clear Widescreen presentation.
Audio: Presented with the power of 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.
Held Hostage definitely has itís moment as a good thriller, but it lacks longevity in its punch. While I applaud director Harvey for attempting to do something different
with the genre, it doesnít fully work.