by Tony Medley
Run time 90
(Nicolas Cage) is a diamond merchant who has built a fortress-style
house in the hills for his wife, Sarah (Nicole Kidman) and teenage
daughter, Avery (Liana Liberato). Shortly into the movie their pristine
home is invaded by four hooded people who want Kyle's money.
This could have
been laughable, but fortunately it has a good script by Karl Gajdusek
and is directed by Joel Schumacher, who showed in Phone Booth
that he could take a relatively flimsy premise and turn it into a tense,
involving drama (let's not talk about what he did with Phantom of the
Opera, but, to give him a little credit, he did what he could after
Andrew Lloyd Webber refused to allow Michael Crawford to play the lead).
As the run time indicates, it is tightly edited by Bill Pankow, who was
responsible for two of my favored movies of recent years, Mesrine,
Public Enemy No. 1, for which he won a Cesar nomination, and
Letters to Juliet. Any good thriller needs music to set the tone and
ambience and David Buckley provides it here. In fact, I think that music
is the number one most important aspect of any thriller, given a good
script and director. This film has all three.
I don't know
what the actors were paid, but this was probably a fairly economical
movie to produce, since there is only one location, little in the way of
special effects, and a very small cast.
There are a few
plot holes. One is the easy, trusting way that Kyle lets the miscreants
into his home, given all the security he has built into it. But the
holes aren't enough to lighten the tension when Kyle and Sarah are in
what appears to be an unwinnable situation, as prisoners of violent
criminals in an isolated location.
is some violence that some might find disturbing, it's an entertaining
90 minutes. Cage and Kidman give fine performances.
October 11, 2011