Although not being the biggest fan of Mel Gibson (don't dislike him either), 'Ransom' did seem like it had an interesting story going for it, Ron Howard has done his fair share of good films and Gary Sinese has done work that is worth admiration.
'Ransom' is a long way from flawless and it could have been better. At the same time, it is an entertaining and tense film as well as very well played. 'Ransom' is a film that starts off very well, even if a few things could have been done better, but loses steam towards the end. Like some people here, was really not crazy about the ending which reeked of studio interference. It was wildly improbable and the way everything was resolved was anti-climactic and overwrought.
The secondary characters could have been better written. For the early reveal of the mastermind kidnapper to properly work, the kidnappers needed to be developed well. Other than Shaker the rest of the gang are very thinly sketched, well performed but one knows very little about them. There is very little to Sean too, making it difficult to sympathise with his dire situation. Tom's motives and reasons for such drastic decision making could have been clearer at times.
Lastly, while the back and forth between Mel Gibson and Gary Sinese was essentially the film's driving force and very effectively executed in giving some great tension, the reveal of who was behind it all felt like it was revealed too early, not having it done later diluted the suspense somewhat.
However, Howard does do a more than competent job directing, creating very nice visuals, good sense of mood and high levels of tension, although the more action-oriented parts felt too stagy and overblown. 'Ransom' was clearly made with a lot of skill, everything looking super slick and atmospheric.
James Horner's score has some beautiful moments as well as some haunting ones, though to me he did do better scores. The script flows well and delivers on the tension, shining especially in the back and forth between Tom and Shaker. The story is taut and twisty, only unravelling in plausibility at the end, the big twist handled more than adequately. One really connects with what Tom and Kate are going through in one of the worst things that can happen to anybody.
Gibson is a very commanding lead, and while she is somewhat wasted with an underwritten character Rene Russo does do a very good job with what she's given. The supporting cast are all good, with standouts being Delroy Lindo, Donnie Wahlberg and Lillie Taylor. Best of all, and other than the back and forth between him and Gibson the best thing about 'Ransom' is Sinese, who sends chills up the spine while adding a few wry twists to his characters in some of his best work he's done.
In conclusion, above average, tense and entertaining thriller, but falls a little short. 6/10 Bethany Cox