Harrison Ford stars as Jack Stanfield, an online security chief for a mid-sized baking chain. One day, he is introduced to a new possible candidate in Bill Cox (Paul Bettany). We learn this turns out to be a setup. Cox and his men are holding Stanfield’s wife (Virginia Madsen) and their two children hostage. In return, Cox demands that Stanfield hack into his bank’s computers to transfer a fortune into Cox’s offshore accounts.
Firewall, in whole, contains a smart plot, one that makes you think. The …asic plot, however, is nothing new. The plot has been updated with newer technology, such as an iPod containing everything Stanfield needs to get into his bank. It seems a bit odd that a small little device like an iPod could hold this much data. The bigger question is if a film like this needs events that are plausible in order to make a shred of sense. Fortunately though, mostly due to how entertaining Ford is to watch, the film holds its own and doesn’t necessarily conclude in an odd manner.
Like I had mentioned, the plot of a family being kidnapped and being held hostage is nothing new. However, Firewall focuses more on the expertise that Stanfield has. During the course of the film, he uses mainframes, labtops, cell phones, fax machines, spycams and, naturally, his daughter’s iPod to help prevent this transfer from occurring.
Harrison Ford, per usual, is great in the film. He’s cunning and never seems to lose his temper all while keeping that fierce look on his face despite knowing that his family is probably being tortured. Virginia Madsen easily generates the necessary amount of fear and pain that a character in her type of role would need to generate. Unlike the typical character though, she is a very clever person, particularly seen in a few key moments where she figures out what to do. Lastly, but certainly not least, is Paul Bettany. Bettany, a British actor, is cool and sly, but in a cruel sort of way that makes you hate him. His characters has everything in perfect order, or at least he thinks so. As the audience, we can easily figure out where he is going to mess up LONG before he does mess up.
Firewall is the type of film that you see, think about on the way home from the theater, and then wonder about for a few more days. The use of newer technology helps brings a newer and closer connection to the average audience member. Unfortunately though, It’s pretty obvious that audiences didn’t connect with the film as the film is coming to a video store near you in a mere 4 months from its’ theatrical release date.
Firewall is presented in a 2:40:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio. Colors are bright, clear and crisp while the main color palette, which consisted of mostly darker colors like blacks, blues and reds, were excellent. Flesh tones were fine as well. The only real problem I noticed was a tad bit of grain in some scenes, which makes me wonder if WB, because the film underperformed at the box office, decided not to clean up the image. I remember seeing these same examples of grain during my theater experience. It’s a true shame WB decided not to clear these little issues as it prevented the picture from being completely perfect.
We’re given a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound Audio track. Dialogue is fresh, clean and clear while the overall dynamics, from subtle sound effects like footsteps heard from running through a hall that sound quiet and scary, to louder effects like a few explosions, sound spot on and come off in great form. Some of the sound effects seemed to almost skip and hop around my head repeatedly. I suppose this is done to drive the sound effects home.
A rather disappointing amount of features on this release.
- Firewall Decoded: A Conversation with Harrison Ford and Richard Loncraine: This is your standard Q&A feature with the two aforementioned actors sitting down answering a few questions about the film.
- Firewall: Writing a Thriller: This feature deals with the writing process of the film. I found it mostly interesting mainly because how easy the story was brought about (mostly due to the plot not being that original). Despite being not too in-depth, the feature accomplished what it was set out to do which was to give a basic look into the film.
- Trailer: Here we get the film’s Theatrical Trailer.
Firewall, as a film, is a fine way to spend 100 minutes of your life. While the plot is nothing original, the film is made into something that seems fresh partly due to the connections to today, but mostly due to the great acting on all parts. The DVD comes with fine picture and audio, but lacks the quality features we expect from film’s. I can only recommend the film for a rental for this reason.
Special Features List
- Firewall Decoded: A Conversation with Harrison Ford and Richard Loncraine
- Firewall: Writing a Thriller