Panic Room provided an example of how to keep a film fresh and intense, without the audience rolling their eyes and whispering comments like “wouldn’t the police have picked him up by now”. But director Richard Loncraine seriously underestimates the importance of maintaining a basic level of plausibility in Firewall.
A Happy Family Gets In Trouble
The full movie begins as Jack Stanfield goes through the motions during breakfast with his family to establish that he loves his wife and family and takes his work very seriously. Jack’s wife, Beth (Virginia Madsen), recites cookie cutter “you’re such a good husband” dialog and throws some overly obvious supportive wife glances. Few will miss the point that the Stanfields are a rich and happy model family.
It doesn’t take long for Bill Cox (Paul Bettany) to show up and hold the Standfields hostage in their own home. Why? Well, Jack designed the full security system for the bank he works for and Cox and his henchmen need Jack to help them steal a hundred million dollars.
Like Panic Room, the rest of the movie features an elaborate chess-like match between Cox and Stanfield. Both of them are testing out the waters with each other and waiting for the right time to make their moves.
Watch It For The Actors
Ford and Bettany both turn in convincing performances and keep this movie watchable at all times. Ford does what he does best playing the innocent man fighting for justice or his family. The screen play doesn’t try to hide his age, but instead, embraces it. You can almost hear Stanfield’s bones creek when he walks. While we want to watch Firewall and how Jack saves the day and puts the bad guys in their place, it’s the director’s job to steer the plot away from spoofing itself.
Bettany’s character, although derivative of other calm and calculated bad guys, keeps things interesting and adequately serves the role of the villain that you sort of like. You won’t necessarily root for him, but under different circumstances, I’m sure we could have been friends.
All the elements for a solid thriller are in place, so you can watch Firewall online free and enjoy it. Unfortunately, enough went wrong when writing the script and editing the video that it doesn’t quite work.
I don’t ask for this genre to completely stick to the rules of our world. The events in a movie don’t need to be possible; they just need to seem that way. Halfway through this film, Jack should really be arrested and the movie should end; that, or the story should take a completely different turn. Where are the police? Perhaps the DVD will show a deleted scene where the entire police force is standing around the station with picket signs.
I may forgive the script for lacking any knowledge of the fact that police chase bank robbers and don’t just let them go, but I can’t forgive this movie’s musical score. Unless the music noticeably enhances a film, the best complement possible is to just stay in the background. It’s been a while since I’ve heard such a forceful and over the top score for a thriller. Every time an arm moves or head turns, there is a loud sound. Actually, anytime anything happens, the music feels the need to try and convince you that something important is happening.
Clearly, Firewall won’t be added online to a list of the great Harrison films, but the good news is that it shouldn’t make any worst list either. Hopefully, Indiana Jones 4 will eventually be made and Ford can finally end his long lasting slump.
When and Where
Firewall allows Harrison Ford to play the kind of role he thrives in. For fans longing for him to give up the comedy and silly bad guy roles, this probably won’t do the trick, but it’s the closest he has come to success in over eight years. If you can get past the unintentional laughs, overly dramatic music, and the screen play’s complete failure to connect the events with logic, you just may watch this one; on DVD or online free of course.