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firewall Firewall
Directed by:
Richard Loncraine
Cast: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Carly Schroeder

Written by:
Ricardo Barberini

May 1, 2007

Firewall is a thriller about good guys and criminals. 


Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is a happily married man with two nice kids.  He is also the well respected head of Information Security (i.e., computer systems and databases) in a Seattle bank which is being acquired by a much larger bank.  He is not very happy with the process and feels that he will become redundant and out of work soon.  In fact, most of customer databases have already been moved to the other bank’s main office. 

The criminals headed by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany) decide to empty some of customer accounts from his bank into an offshore account.  They kidnap his family and force him to cooperate.  Initially, he resists but he soon realizes that they mean business.  Jack’s next hurdle is to penetrate the web of security that he has built so carefully to protect the bank’s assets and siphon off the money without arousing suspicion.  Obviously he does that; otherwise there would be no movie!  In the process he leaves a back door open in the computer programs to allow him to reverse the process and uses that ploy to threaten the bank robbers who gradually either get killed or are slaughtered by Bill their ruthless boss.  Finally, Jack kills the bad guy, recovers the money and frees his family.  As we all expected from the beginning; a very happy ending! 

The screenplay by Joe Forte is rather lame.  There could have been more suspense built into the movie and the plot line could have been improved by adding a secret inside man to the plot.  For example, the bank president Arlin Forester (Alan Arkin) could have been the real brains behind the criminals because he was forced into the merger by the board of directors and this is revenge.  That would have been much better. 

We found Harrison Ford’s portrayal rather awkward.  He is not that old and yet his movements are rather clumsy.  His knees seem to give every now and then.  Ever since the last India Jones trilogy, Harrison Ford has been in search of a star vehicle to boost his flagging popularity.  In the Indiana Jones series, he was the star that made the movies.  In his other movies, he was just a well known face.  Anybody could have been Jack Ryan in the Clear and Present Danger or the Patriot Games.   In fact, Alec Baldwin would have fit the role better.  Harrison Ford also had a run of bad luck with downright mediocre movies such as Hollywood Homicide, Six Days Seven Nights and Air Force One.  One of his better movies was the little noticed 1991 movie Regarding Henry in which he played an aggressive and somewhat unprincipled attorney who gets shot in the head and becomes almost a vegetable.

Paul Bettany delivers an interesting performance as a ruthless, yet clever, psychopath.    Robert Patrick is Gary Mitchell, the representative of the bank which has acquired the Seattle bank.   He is quite good and could have been given a bigger role.  The rest of the supporting actors are just that.

We find this movie good entertainment for the entire family.  Go rent the DVD.

We give it star star.

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