Held Hostage (2009) starring Julie Benz, Brendan Penny, Natasha Calis, Tom Carey, Michelle Harrison directed by Grant Harvey Movie Review

Held Hostage (2009)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Julie Benz in Held Hostage

A Victim's Neverending Nightmare

Michelle Estey (Julie Benz) didn't have the best of childhoods but she clawed her way out and made something of herself, working her way up to becoming a bank manager whilst also a single mum. Then one night shortly after she arrives home with her daughter Breea (Natasha Calis) they are attacked by three masked men with guns who burst in. After being taped to explosives Michelle is forced to enter the bank and steal money which she does and the masked criminals leave them shaken but uninjured. But for Michelle her nightmare has only just begun because following the events and after the robbers are caught they implicate Michelle as being the mastermind behind the crime leading to her less than great past being uncovered. Now under investigation and being turned on by her work colleagues Michelle has another battle on her hands to prove her innocence.

Whether it is based on or inspired by I am not sure but "Held Hostage" has its roots in a true story which was turned into a novel which in turn was adapted in to this movie and so whilst the basis of the story may be real I would guess there is plenty going on in this movie is from the writer's imagination. None the less it is an interesting idea to focus on a victim who after the crime finds her nightmare is not over as she finds herself being accused of being behind the robbery rather than being a victim. And it does this with this interesting back story of a murky background which Michelle had left behind.

But here is the problem which "Held Hostage" has; it needs to work through the robbery part of the movie in order to get to the original idea of the victim becoming a victim again. So what we get is a first half of the movie which is all incredibly typical as we get some minimal character building when it comes to Michelle before are masked men hold them hostage and force Michelle in to robbing her own bank. The trouble is that whilst the crime is not the movie's focus by making it routine does little to draw you in to the movie especially if you watch unaware what the second half brings.

Despite this the performances through out "Held Hostage" are good and Julie Benz is particularly on fine form as this woman who on one hand is as tough as nails having had a rough past but on the other has a daughter to consider. The scenes especially with the criminals are particularly good because they deliver that mix of tough and vulnerable.

What this all boils down to is that "Held Hostage" is a much better TV movie than you might expect and has a good storyline. The trouble is that to get to the good bit you have a first half which ends up ordinary and does little to draw you in to the unfolding story unless you already know where it is heading.