Saturday 28 March 2015


AKA The Terrorists

(Caspar Wrede, 1974)

Ransom wastes Sean Connery. Easily the greatest leading man of his generation, Connery was often misused in the decades between leaving the James Bond franchise and a sort of rebirth as an elder statesman megastar. Only Sidney Lumet seemed to understand his acting ability, and his outsized charisma and macho presence were really only truly capitalised upon by the series of brilliant historical adventures he made in the 1970s. Alongside those he starred in some odd misfires and oddities - thrillers and dramas of questionable value, of which Ransom is a prime example.
Following the machinations and politics around the handling of a dual hostage and hijacking situation in the nation of "Scandinavia" (which appears to be Norway), Connery plays the security chief of the nation who finds himself at odds with his own and the British Government about how to deal with the terrorists involved. Ian McShane plays one, though he, like everyone else, like Connery, has barely any character to speak of.
Finnish director Wrede is competent but his staging and style are inarguably dull; despite cinematography by the legendary Sven Nykvist and a score by the equally legendary Jerry Goldsmith, Ransom rarely feels like a movie, instead carrying a lingering whiff of television with it. The plot sees Connery arrange various plans to end the twin sieges, and even the action scenes feel flat, though there are a few moments of tension. The best thing here is the location work - wintry Norwegian locations are instantly atmospheric, and even the cynically-appropriated library material of bombing in '70s Britain adds to the feel of Europe during a low, dirty decade. Connery is always watchable, but his character, Nils Tahlvik, is a gruff military man who seems more irritated by the situation in which he finds himself than he is emotionally torn. The actor is capable of so much more than this film.

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