Release Date: February 10th, 2006 by Warner Brothers Pictures.
The Cast: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Robert Forster, Alan Arkin, Robert Patrick, Mary Lynn Rajskub.
Directed by Richard Loncraine.
BASIC PREMISE: Bill (Bettany) forces Jack (Ford), a computer security manager at bank, to steal from his own bank while holding his family hostage.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Harrison Ford plays the same kind of character he had played in Air Force One : a powerful man whose wife and kids get threatened by a bad guy. In this case, the bad guy is Bill, who, along with his small team, holds Jack’s wife and two children hostage. What’s his motive? He wants Jack to illegally transfer a huge sum of money from his bank to Bill’s account—not very original. To make matters worse, Jack must go to work pretending that everything is alright while being on constant audio and video surveillance. The problem with Firewall comes from its weak script. Virginia Madsen, who was so good in Sideways , has very little to do here other than play Jack’s wife who often gets slapped around by the bad guys. Even Paul Bettany as Bill feels too one-dimensional and stereotypical. Since when is “Bill” a threatening name for a bad guy? Every little twist and turn can be predicted long before they arrive, so any potential suspense becomes easily diminished. The third act, which somehow involves the cute family dog, feels too contrived and implausible. If only screenwriter Joe Forte had tightened up the script with less clichéd characters and didn’t waste the talents of Alan Arkin and Robert Forster, who play small roles. If only screenwriter Joe Forte had tightened up the script with less clichéd characters and didn’t waste the talents of Alan Arkin and Robert Forster, who play small roles. On a positive note, Mary Lynn Rajskub has a lot of fun with her role as Jack’s secretary. Director Richard Loncraine keeps a fast pace and gives the film a very slick look with interesting technological gadgets. SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief. If you don’t suspend it, most of the third act won’t make sense at all.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
IN A NUTSHELL: A slick yet unimaginative and forgettable thriller with very little thrill, suspense, or plausibility.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "F" Menu