Ransom

ransom

One of the first films to herald the arrival of Ron Howard into the really big leagues. After ”Backdraft” and ”Apollo 13” he could attract A list stars, wield a great script and call on considerable moviemaking resources, making a dramatic thriller like ”Ransom” seem much bigger than it was.

Airline baron Tom (Mel Gibson) is a rich, happily married man with a beautiful wife and wonderful son whose world is shattered when kidnappers nab his son off the streets to demand a ransom.

Kidnapping expert Delroy Lindo is bought in while Tom and his wife (Russo) get increasingly hollow-eyed and desperate while the cops get nowhere playing the kidnappers’ game.

It’s late in the picture that we learn the ringleader is cop Jimmy (Gary Sinise), and by that time Tom’s decided to take matters into his own hands, entering a very dangerous game of bluff with them in the hope he’ll outsmart them and leading to the movie’s highest concept of all – appearing on TV with the ransom money to tell the kidnappers he’s going to offer it as a reward for whomever turns them in.

Tensions and tempers flare among the small band of semi-professional criminals as the case drags on longer than any of them planned for, and Tom’s plan works when the kidnapper’s bought right into his home for what will be the final, nail biting showdown.

It further proved that Howard could really spin an effective yarn on the screen, had grown-up bloodshed and tension and was executed with finesse and aplomb and only the tiniest bit of overacting by Mel.

And surely the line ‘I got him once…I’ll get him again’ must go down as one of the scariest lines in recent film history.

Blu-ray details/extras : A much more satisfying release than expected, considering some of the other poorly-treated back-catalog Disney titles being released on BD at the moment. A fairly pleasing audio and video transfer is accompanied by an audio commentary, some featurettes, deleted scenes and the trailer for the film.