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Laramie Movie Scope: Ransom

A thriller with some fancy plot twists

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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July 29, 1996 -- My sources tell me "Ransom" did a booming business when it opened this weekend, which means it probably did a good business nationwide as well.

There's no reason this film shouldn't do well at the box office. It's directed by Ron Howard (formerly known as "Opie") and it stars Mel Gibson. While it is not quite as good as Howard's "Apollo 13" last year, it is certainly a good effort.

You may think you know the plot from seeing the previews, but you don't unless you peeked at the movie's web site at Movies.Com, which gives away a bit too much of the plot. It also has a video of the trailer you can download, cast and production notes and lots of other stuff.

The story progresses along like a by-the-numbers kidnapping film, and then, in a breathtaking series of plot sommersaults it turns the story on its head and then it does it again and again. It's nice to get surprised by an original plot twist or two.

Mel Gibson plays Tom Mullen the father of the kidnapped child. He's a complex character, a self-made multi-millionaire who's not lilly-white. He's not above bribery or lying to his wife. During the course of the film, however, he changes from a guy who'll do anything to save his company to a man who finally understands what's important in life, but he's still confident enough to trust his instincts. It's a very good performance by Gibson.

His opponent is a crooked cop named Jimmy Shaker, brilliantly played by Gary Sinise, who was also in "Apollo 13." Sinise is a ruthless killer who will do anything for money and to bring down Mullen, who he considers to be morally inferior. In one scene Shaker, talking to Mullen on a radio bares his soul, talking about his views on class structure based on the carefree Eloi and the dungeon-dwelling Morlocks of "The Time Machine."

Renee Russo does a fine job playing Mullen's wife, Kate and Lilli Taylor is also good as Shaker's girlfriend, Maris. Delroy Lindo is also good as the frustrated FBI agent Hawkins. This is a very high-quality film. It rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1996 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)