4 May 2004 | rsoonsa
RICHARD HARRIS DISPLAYS HIS AMERICAN PERSONA.
The talent of Richard Harris at using widely differing dialects is the most compelling aspect of this highly manipulative and tritely written film wherein Harris portrays Danny Travis, a visionary but failed inventor who, despite widowerhood, has raised three children, albeit in a state of genteel poverty with their home being a Los Angeles apartment building that has been condemned by State officials in order to erect a massive mixed purpose complex upon the site. Urban renewal in this case translates into large monetary profit for the responsible insiders, and when a County Marshal attempts to dislodge Danny and his brood, Travis takes him prisoner and becomes a national celebrity due to contrivances arranged by a television reporter, played by Karen Black, and in the face of the best efforts of a former neighbour (well-played by Martin Landau) of Danny, the police captain in command of the hostage situation. A self-described Irish immigrant, Travis has virtually no accent and this noteworthy acting skill of Harris possesses far more interest than a plot that has only the most tortured connection with credibility and is further marred by an extraordinarily poor depiction of L.A.P.D. Swat tactics; the title refers to uncertainty as to which will have the final word: government, media, or an individual; curiously, a rushed ending leaves any answer in doubt.