Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Mel Gibson
Rene Russo
Gary Sinise
Lili Taylor
Delroy Lindo
Brawley Nolte.
Directors
Ron Howard.
Screenwriters
Richard Price
Alexander Ignon
Ricahrd Price
Alexander Ignon.
Running Time
121 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Watermark
3 Star Empire Rating
They Came Together
3 Star Empire Rating
Attila Marcel
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Ransom
Genuinely gripping action thriller with Mel Gibson as the Dad on a mission.


submit to reddit


Plot
When a millionaire's son is kidnapped, the boy's father refuses to pay the ransom, instead putting a bounty on the kidnapper's heads. A tense game of cat and mouse begins. The stakes? The boy's life.


Review
Long accustomed to effortlessly hitting the buttons marked "right" Ron Howard augments his record of super-slick big screen entertainment with a ruthlessly effective if mechanistic thriller.

Gibson is Tom Mullen, a self-made millionaire airline magnate with all the standard accoutrements of the super rich: a New York penthouse, a glam wife (Russo) and a cute kid (Brawley Nolte - yup, Nick's son). All is going tickety-boo, apart from the small matter of an accusation of shady dealings and bribery, when the family head off for an afternoon in the park. Which is when what was obviously described in script meetings as "every parent's worst nightmare" sees the sprog lifted by a gang of ruthless kidnappers who demand a pair of millions for the return of the tousled tot with fingers and toes still attached.

An FBI team, headed up by Lonnie Hawkins (Lindo), are called in and run around a lot looking efficient under the admiring gaze of Howard's camera. But then they balls-up the drop, plugging the only vaguely human kidnapper (Donnie Wahlberg - yup, Mark's brother) full of lead and leaving the kid to the less than tender mercies of cop-gone-kidnapper Jimmy Shaker (Sinise) and his revolting wife (Taylor) who spend most of the movie either pouring cough mixture down the blindfolded tot's throat or waving knives around.

There is, of course, only one thing to be done. Desperate Mullen goes on the telly and announces to a distinctly perturbed Sinise, a disapproving wife and all of America that the ransom will now be delivered to whoever brings the kidnapper in, dead or alive.

What saves Ransom from a script that has fewer twists than a snake with rigor mortis are strong performances both from Gibson - who in a sequence during which he thinks his plan has resulted in the dispersal of the poppet's cranial matter over a wall elevates a pretty one-dimensional character into something more closely resembling a stricken parent - and Sinise who is equally effective as the hissing baddie who capitalises on Mullen's reputation as a "payer".

Added to which is a harder edge in Howard's traditionally glossy style with the first shot of the bound child, blindfolded and tied to a filthy mattress delivering the kind of gut-churner of a shock to the helpless parents which all but the die-hard kiddie haters in the audience will share plus the kidnapping sequence itself in which he works up the tension masterfully as concerned glances turn to outright panic as the kid's parents slowly realise that their flaxen-haired pride and joy is no longer happily trotting about the place.

As a bonus there's a turn from Taylor as a Lady Macbethish power behind the throne who makes Myra Hindley look like a care worker. And with only an utterly redundant final reel in which Gibson and Sinise go head-to-head to sour the brew, Ransom pays up handsomely.


Verdict
A masterclass in sustained tension, this thriller rarely lets the audience stray from the edge of their seats.


Reviewed by Adam Smith

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Ransom
Empire Star Rating

FAIL.

"When a millionaire's son is kidnapped, the boy's father refuses to pay the ransom, instead putting a bounty on the kidnapper's heads." How many heads does the kidnapper have???? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by madcreator12 at 18:35, 25 June 2010 | Report This Post


Enjoyed this a lot. Found it very entertaining. Would definitely recommend this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PureAinmhi at 15:16, 03 November 2009 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Movie Business Will Be Like 15th Century Florence
How Annapurna's Pictures' Megan Ellison is the bright white hope of film funding

Gillian Robespierre And Jenny Slate Talk Obvious Child
Director and star on their acclaimed rom-com

Video Interviews: The Stars And Directors Talk As Above, So Below
We talked to Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and company about their underground horror…

The Future Of Film: All Big Blockbusters Will Be Shot At 48 FPS
Our month-long series begins discussing the innovations that will shape cinema

Video Interviews: Chloe Grace Moretz And Jamie Blackley Talk If I Stay
The stars, director R.J. Cutler and co-star Joshua Leonard talk YA adaptations

15 Of The Weirdest TV Cameos Of All Time
From Michael Palin in Home And Away to Ian McKellen in Corrie

Updated: The 36 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)