86 min., 2007
Written by Dwight Istanbulian/Spiros Stathoulopoulos
Directed by Spiros Stathoulopoulos
My rating: ★★★★
A good story with a great ending.
* * *
The movie starts with some people in a vehicle driving down a road. There’s a little in-fighting between them and then they are back on their way. They stop just outside of a house and put on masks and pull out weapons. They walk up to the house and take the family hostage, and start telling them that they need money. They take the dad (Daniel Páez, I think. Bear with me on who plays who, because they aren’t actually listed as who they play, so I’m just guessing here. If you know who plays who, please let me know) and measure his neck. Something isn’t right so they grab the mother (Mérida Urquía, again I think) and put a giant collar made of PVC around her neck. They tell her that it’s a bomb and if they don’t get the money they want it will explode. They leave and the family starts down the road to getting the thing off.
This is where I normally talk about the acting, but since I really don’t know who plays who I’m just going to refer to them as the characters they played. The mother, who is the main character of the movie, does a great job of being brave in front of the kids, but then turns in a great performance at being terrified of this thing around her neck. Calm to terror, terror to calm and then back again to terror is hard for some to pull off, but she has no problems with it. The father is pretty good in his role, but there are times where it seems like he forgot his lines or is just trying to improvise, and it just doesn’t work. The other main character is the bomb disposal guy. He does a great job of being confident and scared at the same time. He tries to calm the mother while at the same time tries to not go off the deep end himself. Again the transitions are great with very little trouble.
There is no reason to go into effects other than saying that the PVC bomb looked really cool. It’s very simplistic looking but hiding a very deadly bomb. Just great use of a very common thing to hold something terrifying.
The movie was shot in one take. If you haven’t heard that yet, now you have. Unlike Hitchcock’s Rope, there are no actual edits and it is actually all done in one shot. There have been very few movies that have used this “trick” and even less that have pulled it off successfully. This is one that pulls it off, with a few problems, but over all great. You feel the tension as the minutes count down and question if she will survive or not. The one shot use in this movie does have its down spots, but that is mainly them getting from one spot to another and the large amount of dead air that goes on. It has a feel that either they were using it to create more tension or that they didn’t know what to put there. To me it felt more like the latter and left me waiting for even the next line to be spoken.
As a whole this is a great movie. Good acting, believable plot (yes I know it was based on actual accounts, but most movies that say that aren’t actually believable), good tension building and a great end, make this a winner in my book. Should everyone see this movie? No. There is too much of nothing going on for most to enjoy. I can see a lot of people getting bored pretty fast, but if you stick around it just gets better. This one I’ll leave in your hands. Check it out if you want to or avoid it, your choice.Have You Read...?