Koch Lorber Films
Stathis Papadopoulos, Theodora Tzimou, Yannis Stankoglou, Minas Hatzisavvas, Arto Apartian
Based on a 1999 Greek bus-jacking by an Albanian man ' not the 2004 Greek bus-jacking by two
Albanian men ' Constantine Giannaris' Hostage
is one of the most realistic kidnapping films in recent memory. Sadly, its realism comes from the fact that it does a fantastic job of evoking what must be the truth behind many hostage-taking situations. While punctuated by moments of sheer terror (did he really just pull the pin on that grenade?) and pathological poignancy (if only he had gotten along better with his parents!), these drawn-out, claustrophobic nightmares are fairly boring. A whole day on a bus with a half-dozen strangers and an unbalanced mama's boy with a machine gun may sound tense, but Giannaris' languid story arc, jarring flashbacks and amateur camerawork combine with glazed-over acting by the entire cast to make it seem more numbing than horrifying. By the film's end, you're relieved that it's over, but not at all for the right reasons.