Movie Review – Firewall (Mini Review)
Principal Cast : Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Robert Patrick, Carly Schroeder, Jimmy Bennett, Robert Forster, Alan Arkin, Vincent Gale, Kett Turton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Vince Vieluf, Matthew Currie Holmes.
Synopsis: A security specialist is forced into robbing the bank that he’s protecting, as a bid to pay off his family’s ransom.
Harrison Ford versus Paul Bettany in this cheesy, tired thriller, a plot torn from the pages of a hundred other subgenre screenplays and directed with a minimal sense of tension by Richard Loncraine (Band of Brothers). After his family is held hostage by high-tech (but logically idiotic) bank robbers, led by Bettany’s bland arch-villain, Ford’s bank security character is forced to help steal a hundred million dollars by pretending everything is okay at work, and hoping not to be uncovered. To be fair, the film asks us to suspend an incredible amount of disbelief – at one point, Bettany’s Bill Cox learns that the bank’s secure access terminals, which are crucial to his plans, have all been removed, which when you consider how elaborate his overall scheme is is really quite dumb – and throws a lot of contrivances at the screen in an effort to befuddle the audience. It doesn’t always work.
Firewall is a film best described as a rancid coagulation of other, far better heist/robbery/kidnap thrillers. If you can get past the sheer audacity of the robbery plan, and just how illogical it all is, and simply enjoy the story for the dumb seen-it-before trope it is, you might enjoy this one. Ultimately, however, the film falls well short of being anywhere near compelling or enjoyable, held together only through Harrison Ford’s always-enigmatic performance and the sight of Paul Bettany trying to ham it up as a bad guy; if only the film bothered with things like motivation, emotional cohesion and logical story progression. Great character actors like Robert Patrick, Alan Arkin and Robert Forster all drop by to collect a paycheck in minor cameos, and it’s fun to see Game Of Thrones‘ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in a minor supporting role. Predictable plot points and by-the-narrowest-of-margins developments between setup and explosive grand finale sour the film’s thriller aspects, and there’s nowhere near enough of Ford getting the upper hand with that growling voice of his.
Firewall, and I’m still unsure why they called it that, is a very mediocre thriller with Air Force One era Harrison Ford in typical gruff hero mode, Paul Bettany trying (and failing) to out-Alan Rickman the great Alan Rickman, and Virginia Madsen in a forgettable turn as Ford’s on-screen wife. Sadly, a lack of thrills and a laughable plot turn this high-tech heist thriller into a run-of-the-mill kidnap drama lacking audience awareness or any sense of showmanship. Skip it.