Starring: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone
Director: John Frankenheimer
Running Time: 122 mins
Ronin is an American film about a team of ex-special operatives who are recruited to take part in the heist of a mysterious package in France, however they are not the only party who are pursuing the case.
This is a really great film. Featuring a riveting and consistently surprising plot, great performances across the board, brilliant action sequences, and strong directing that links it all together, Ronin is the perfect thriller to really grip you for the best part of two hours, and although it’s not quite as heart-racing as it could be, it’s still a mighty captivating watch from start to finish.
Let’s start off with what is undoubtedly the film’s crowning glory: the plot. There are so many classic crime thrillers with exciting, unpredictable and genuinely riveting plots, and that’s just the case with Ronin, a film which takes you through endless twists and turns over the course of a non-stop thrill ride all over France.
Not only is the story an exciting one because you follow a group of special operatives hunting down a mysterious package at all costs, but also because of the ingenious seeds of distrust and suspiciont that the film places for you concerning the lead characters, with the central team all working together, but not without looking over their shoulder, something that I really found exciting, and that kept me guessing from start to finish.
Of course, those seeds of suspicion would be nothing if the characters didn’t each have something a little off about them, and that’s where the performances come in. Apart from being a simply great cast, Ronin features riveting and convincing performances across the board, with Robert De Niro as our worldly and experienced hero, looking every which way to ward off betrayal by one of his colleagues.
Jean Reno is brilliantly likable as the group’s fixer, Sean Bean is very unsettling early on, Stellan Skarsgård makes for a very strong presence throughout, and Natascha McElhone really shines in a role that leaves her character the mystery of the whole film, and even when everything’s said and done, McElhone has that air of mystery about her in the role that you’re still not 100% sure of her true alliances and intentions, something that I absolutely loved.
As well as the enthralling backstabbings, betrayals and suspicions that arise among the lead characters, Ronin is also a great watch because it’s a really entertaining action movie. It’s not intended as a gleefully explosive and mindless action movie, but thanks to two brilliant car chases in Nice and Paris, it achieves just the same effect while still retaining good drama and thrills throughout.
Director John Frankenheimer does a fantastic job at giving the film a brilliant atmosphere that keeps its story riveting throughout, but those two car chases are his biggest achievement here, as they present two absolutely thrilling, visually stunning and endlessly entertaining major action set-pieces to sit back and marvel at in the middle of the movie.
The story remains important and focused throughout, but there’s something about those two scenes that are just so memorable, and sum up why Ronin is ultimately such a strong movie. It’s undoubtedly a great crime thriller with a riveting story and great performances, but it’s also a really entertaining blockbuster with great action throughout, and two stellar car chases that you won’t forget in a long time, which is why I’m giving Ronin a 7.8 overall.