A Public Ransom (2014) – By Brian Morton

What would you do if you found a flyer, made by a child that said ‘help me’ and had a phone number? Would you call the police? Would you call the number on the flyer? Interesting questions that are posed to the ‘hero’ of a new movie, A Public Ransom.

When a self-described writer, Stephen, comes across this poster, he calls the number and is informed that if he doesn’t come up with a ransom, a child will be killed. This draws him into a web put together by another writer, Bryant, who tells him that he has two weeks to raise $2000 or a child will be killed. He even gives him the name of the child. Well, Stephen believes this to be a prank and doesn’t take it seriously…until Bryant begins appearing in other parts of his life. Making friends with his friends, getting stories published and making a general enigma of himself. Ultimately, Stephen is left wondering if he’s been better off calling the police, which he has threatened to do since the beginning of the game.

A Public Ransom is an interesting morality tale told in a very strange way. Stephen, our hero, is pretty unlikable and Bryant, the villain of the piece, never seems that bad. And, the movie tends to be a bit wordy, Stephen can’t seem to form a sentence without one of those famous ten-dollar words, and his character is so unlikable that I never felt bad for him once, no matter the outcome of the scenario he’s found himself in.

I’m giving A Public Ransom, 2 out of 4 cigars, it’s an interesting kernel, but filled out in a way that I felt like it was being written by the Stephen character, too wordy and too high minded for its own good. You can find out more by heading over to http://www.apublicransom.wordpress.com.