Ho-hum hostage hokum

The pseudo-psychological term “Stockholm Syndrome,” if you don’t know, refers to a phenomenon in which captives in prolonged hostage situations sometimes take the side of or even fall in love with their captors.  The New Yorker ascribed the term’s coinage to an absurd bank heist that took place in the Swedish capital in 1973. 

This flick is one of those “inspired by true events” (rather than “based on”) efforts that reenacts the heist, with mixed results. It’s played for comedy, but it’s not all that funny. It sags for long periods, and it never convinced me that this is a story that needed telling. 

Summing up this watchable diversion, Ethan Hawke, as the criminal with a heart of gold, is the best thing about it, but this is far from the actor’s best work. Dog Day Afternoon this isn’t, no matter how intensely Hawke, given little else to do, channels Al Pacino’s inept crook. Noomi Rapace, as the central hostage, keeps up with Hawke step for step. 

Director Robert Budreau previously teamed up with Hawke to make the vastly more assured Chet Baker biopic Born to Be Blue. (92 min)