Like Face/Off before it, Firewall is an overblown, unrelenting movie that tries to disguise its ludicrous plot with enough technical jargon to make it all appear feasible. How much you like the film depends on how much rational thought you disregard. Written and directed with competent anonymity, Firewall stars Harrison Ford as Jack Stanfield, an idealistic family man and bank security specialist, and Paul Bettany as the suave villain who takes Jack's family hostage, threatening to kill them unless Jack wires a ridiculous amount of money from the bank to his offshore account. This is a film that exists very much in the Now as a reflection on our technologically pampered times: intricate surveillance systems, pen and cell-phone cameras, laptops, iPods and even an Internet dog-tracking system all play roles in the movie's tech-y tableaux, sometimes insightfully and other times as cheap deus ex machinas. Bettany is the best reason to see the film, one-upping even Alan Rickman's sinister creep in Die Hard. Even so, there are few genuinely stirring sequences; every time the Bernard Herrmann-aping score bludgeons you again, you know you're in for another dose of the familiar.
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