The Taking of Pelham 123

“Life is simple now. They just have to do what I say.”

Filmed in New York, director Tony Scott reteams with Denzel Washington for the fourth time in this remake of the 1974 subway thriller starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, which was adapted from the Morton Freedgood novel.

Washington stars as a New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber who unexpectedly faces off against Ryder, well played by John Travolta, and his hijackers.

Garber is a relatively ordinary man caught in an increasingly tense situation as he matches wits with the criminal mastermind Ryder. Garber and the other protagonists must content with Ryder’s demands and deadlines while considering the bad guys’ seemingly impossible escape plan. Travolta’s memorable performance is welcome after a few villainous missteps in other films like Swordfish and Battlefield Earth.

This leading man duo delivers the goods with a solid male supporting cast including John Turturro (Transformers) as a NYC hostage negotiator, James Gandolfini (NYC Mayor), Luis Guzman (hijacker Phil Ramos), newcomer Victor Gojcaj (hijacker Bashkin) who also starred in Scott’s last film Unstoppable and Aunjanue Ellis (The Help, The Book of Negroes) as Garber’s wife.

Scott creates a kinetic visual atmosphere within fast paced circumstances in dense urban conditions. The direction and editing can be a bit chaotic and even stressful, which puts you right into the characters’ shoes.

The subway sequences have some great dialogue and memorable comic relief bits. A solid 106 minute crowd pleaser ideal for the people pleasing movie crowd that is recommended (***) and rated R for violence and pervasive language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

This entry was posted in 2000s Film Reviews, Film Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Taking of Pelham 123

  1. Pingback: Best and Worst in 2009 Film | Tall Writer

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