Firewall is a middle of the road action thriller that could have been much worse and could also have been better. There is a reason why Harrison Ford is the most bankable actor in the history of Hollywood – he delivers no matter how weak the script – and he has had some weak scripts in recent years. The weaknesses here are in the script and not in the talent. Paul Bettany delivers in his performance as the very calm and in control Cox who is simultaneously charming and threatening. Virginia Madsen is a believable wife of an upper class Seattle bank vice president of security played by Harrison Ford. The balance of the cast is littered with talent that could have been put to better use Alan Arkin and a very under used Robert Patrick. Delivering a strong performance with a very minor role is Mary Lynn Rajskub of 24 fame.
The setup is simple enough: V.P. Security Jack Stanfield is a stand up top of the line security guy who is a little miffed about his bank’s upcoming merger with a much larger bank and their new security specialist played by Robert Patrick. In the midst of all this Jack meets a young entrepreneur Bill Cox (Paul Bettany) who offers him a job. It turns out that Cox actually has designs on robbing Stanfield’s bank. To gain Stanfield’s cooperation in the caper Cox takes Stanfield’s family hostage.
If you haven’t seen this movie in some variation before then you don’t go to the movies much. The script is a little messy with red herring developments (like identity theft) that don’t really go anywhere. There are some good moments in the movie that were elegantly set up – like an escape attempt by the family that centers around the fact that Jack’s wife was the architect who designed the house.
Firewall is a satisfying little movie with decent production values, ok direction and good acting but no one will mistake it for a classic.