Neil and Abby Warner have the perfect life and a perfect marriage. With their beautiful young daughter, Sophie, they are living the American dream... until today.
When Sophie is suddenly kidnapped, they have no choice but to comply with the abductors demands. The kidnapper - Ryan (PIERCE BROSNAN), a cold and calculating sociopath takes over their lives with the brutal efficiency of someone who has nothing to lose.
In the blink of an eye Neil and Abby's safe and secure existence is turned upside down. Over the next twenty four hours they are at the mercy of a man who wants only one thing. That they do his bidding. It soon becomes clear that Ryan's demands are all the more terrifying... because he doesn't want their money. What he wants is for Neil and Abbyís life, the life that they have built over 10 years, to be systematically dismantled and destroyed. Piece by piece.
With time running out on their little girl, Neil and Abby realise their nightmare is about to take its most deadly turn: They will have to face Ryan's final, horrifying challenge - would they kill an innocent man to save their own child?
In the far distance a solitary light burns in the window of a lodge as the car glides to a halt - and Neil knows it is a question only he can answer - when Ryan hands him the gun...
After seeing "The Ugly Truth" and loving it, I wanted to find out if there were any other Gerard Butler movies I hadn't seen, and came across this one, which appealed to me, since I'm definitely in a suspense mode lately. As I'm watching it I realize that part of it had been filmed in Chicago; where the hell was I when Gerard was in town??? I seriously don't remember this. How sad to have missed that.
Anyway, so the movie starts out with Abby and Neil, and we see their beautiful daughter, their gorgeous house, their wonderful life. Abby is a stay-at-home mom, and Neil works for a top advertising agency. The two are going about their day; Abby planning a day of pampering with a girlfriend for her birthday and Neil getting ready to attend an off-site work meeting at his boss' cabin. As they drive into the city together, discussing their plans, all of a sudden a man with a gun jumps up from the backseat and tells them they will never see their daughter again unless they do everything he says.
So as the day progresses, Tom Ryan, their captor, asks exactly what it is they would do to get their daughter back. He takes them through the city, making demands on a deadline, pushing them to see how desperate they are to get their child back. He basically breaks down their life, taking from them their security, their sense of worth and confidence, their trust in each other. Yet by the time their day of captivity is over, Tom will ask of them the ultimate sacrifice, and pushes to find out to exactly what measures this couple will go to in order to save their child...
This movie was pretty interesting, and not exactly what I was expecting, and that can be very cool. We see what we think is this perfect family going about their lives. They seem totally devoted to each other. Yet then we see glimpses of what really goes on in their day, and we see that Neil on that job and learn he can be a real jerk at times, that he lets his ego take over and smirks at those less charismatic, less, confident. That Abby is not so content being a stay-at-home mom all the time. There are cracks in the armor.
But all of that is set aside in the desperate need to get their daughter back. Money, career, material objects become not only secondary, but completely unimportant when it comes to saving their child. It becomes quite obvious that Tom doesn't care about anything or anyone, and so Neil and Abby realize that reasoning with him is not an option. He has an agenda that he intends to carry out, and no matter what they say or do, it won't change that. Their feelings of rage and frustration and utter helplessness grow in intensity because they are at Tom's mercy, and have no idea what he's going to ask of them next. But Tom has a definite plan as to how this is all going to end, and it's not going to be pretty. The question is: how far will you go to protect the life of a loved one?
Pierce makes for a decidely sinister and sexy villain. You can't help but be drawn to his ruthless character housed in such an attractive package, yet also hate him at the same time for endangering the life of a child. Abby is a frantic mother who would lay down her life, or let herself be victimized to get her daughter back. Maria Bello is incredibly gorgeous, yet she also has this strong maternal vibe that shines strongly in her role as Abby and you can picture yourself being her, scared for her child, willing to be pushed to any length if it means her daughter will be safe. That fits with my idea of a loving mother, and she got it right without becoming hysterical and useless. And then there's Gerard as Neil, the sexy husband and father, who loves his daughter but feels threatened and is not afraid to push back, at least at first. Like any protector, he can't sit idly by and just "let" this happen to him and his family, he has to try to get control back from Tom. But there comes a point when he's stripped of his dignity, that whatever loss he suffers can't compare to the idea of something bad happening to his little girl. Or his wife.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys suspenseful action, and is fascinated by the lengths some people would go to in order to protect what is their's, whether it be material things, or something infinitely more precious, like a loved one. You also see several glimpses of Chicago, which for me is always a treat. Time flew by as I watched this, even though at times I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what the ending was going to turn out to be.
Rating: ****1/2 out of *****
Have you seen this movie?
What did you think?