Hostage (film)

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This article is about the 2005 film. For other films named Hostage or The Hostage, see Hostage (disambiguation).
Hostage
Hostage poster.JPG
Promotional poster
Directed by Florent Emilio Siri
Produced by
Written by Doug Richardson
Robert Crais (novel)
Starring
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci
Edited by Richard Byard
Olivier Gajan
Production
company
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • March 9, 2005 (2005-03-09) (Philippines)
  • March 11, 2005 (2005-03-11) (United States)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $75 million[1]
Box office $77,944,725[2]

Hostage is a 2005 American action thriller drama film starring Bruce Willis that was directed by Florent Emilio Siri. The film was based on a novel by Robert Crais, and was adapted for the screen by Doug Richardson.

The film's plot is roughly the same as the novel; the main difference is that a complicated subplot involving the Mafia was removed and the ages of the first group of hostage-takers was lowered slightly. In the novel, Smith's employer is Sonny Benza, a crime overlord whose influence reaches throughout the entire West Coast.

Plot[edit]

Former SWAT officer Jeff Talley is a hostage negotiator in Los Angeles. Talley is negotiating with a man who has taken his wife and son hostage after learning she has been cheating on him. Talley denies a SWAT commander's request to give snipers the green light to take out the suspect. There are three gunshots in the house. Talley runs through the barricaded door and finds the man and his wife dead. In the boy's room he finds the son, who passes away in Talley's arms. This leaves Talley emotionally scarred. He moves with his family to become police chief in Bristo Camino, a peaceful suburban hamlet in Ventura County, California.

A year after the incident, Talley finds himself in another hostage situation. Two teenagers, Dennis and his brother Kevin, and their mysterious accomplice Marshall "Mars" Krupcheck take hostage Walter Smith and his two children, a teenager Jennifer and a young child Tommy, in Smith's house after a failed robbery attempt. The first officer to respond, Carol Flores, is brutally shot twice by Mars just before Talley and a fellow officer arrive. Talley attempts to rescue the seriously injured officer, who dies in front of him. Traumatized and unwilling to put himself through yet another life-or-death situation, Talley hands authority over to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and leaves.

Smith has been laundering money for a mysterious revolutionary criminal syndicate through offshore shell corporations. He was preparing to turn over a batch of important encrypted files (recorded on a DVD) when he was taken hostage. To protect such incriminating evidence from discovery, the syndicate orders someone known only as the Watchman to kidnap Talley's wife and daughter. Talley is told to return to the hostage scene and stall for time until the organization can launch its own attack against Smith's house.

Dennis has his partners Mars and Kevin tie up the kids. Dennis pistol-whips Walter, knocking him out, then finds a large amount of cash. In an attempt to end the standoff (and secure the DVDs himself), Talley meets with Dennis and agrees to provide a helicopter in exchange for half the money. When the helicopter arrives, Dennis and Kevin bring the money to Talley in the courtyard and prepare to leave, but Mars refuses to leave without Jennifer. Talley tries to get the boys to leave Jennifer and walk away, but he says that the helicopter will only carry three additional people, and insists that Jennifer stay behind. The deal breaks down as the boys return to the house. Talley tells the chopper to stand down and he exits the courtyard.

Kevin is upset that his older brother picked Mars over him and confronts Dennis, demanding he make a decision: it's either him or Mars. Dennis picks the money and Kevin is even more upset so he grabs the bags full of money and empties them onto the floor, so Dennis punches him. Thomas escapes, grabs his father's gun and talks to Talley on Jennifer's cell phone.

Talley learns that Mars is a killer, who could turn on the hostages and his own accomplices at any moment. Mars does, in fact, kill Kevin, just when Kevin is about to release the kids to the police. Dennis comes to Kevin's side and assumes the cops killed him. Mars then shoots Dennis. The brothers die in each other's arms.

The syndicate sends fake FBI agents to recover the DVD and they storm the house. Mars is stabbed in the cheek by Jennifer. She and her brother flee. They lock themselves in the house's panic room. Talley hears the children screaming as they flee.

Mars throws a Molotov Cocktail at Talley, destroying his patrol car. Mars begins to kill the majority of the fake FBI agents using his pistol and multiple Molotov Cocktails, but is shot in the side by the only surviving agent. The agent tracks down Talley and the children, demanding to be given the encrypted DVD. Talley gives him the DVD. Mars reappears, distracting the agent long enough to be killed by Talley.

Mars prepares to throw the last bomb and kill everyone in the room. He collapses to his knees, weakened by the wounds in his torso and blood loss. He makes eye contact with Jennifer, with whom he was apparently infatuated, then drops the Molotov Cocktail. Mars dies, setting himself on fire and vanishing in a pillar of flame.

Talley evacuates the hostages. He and Walter Smith then go to the inn where Talley's wife and daughter are being held hostage by the Watchman and other masked men. Smith, set free by Talley and grateful for his own family being saved, shoots the Watchman in the head. This allows Talley to kill the other masked gunmen. Talley's family is safe.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming took place in the Malibu area (in western Los Angeles County). The exterior views of Smith's lavishly appointed house were filmed at a real house in the unincorporated Topanga Canyon area, between Malibu and Los Angeles; the interior scenes were done on sound stages in Hollywood.[citation needed]

The character Mars, played by Ben Foster, was modeled after Bay Area rap artist Mars by Robert Crais after a friend Dennis Bsharah urged him to look into the horrorcore genre. In the movie adaptation, Foster strongly resembles the rapper.[3] Jonathan Tucker's name was later changed to Dennis.

The movie's opening scenes were filmed in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, just east of downtown.[citation needed]

Although being fictional, Bristo Camino was possibly intended to be a representation of Ojai or Moorpark. Bristo Bay is the name of Bristo Camino in the original 2001 Robert Crais novel.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Critical response [edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 36% based on 152 reviews.[4] Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four.[5]

Box office[edit]

The film earned $34,639,939 at the box office in the United States and a total international gross of $77,944,725.[2]

Home media [edit]

Hostage was released on DVD June 21, 2005.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]