Talented, ambitious but down on his luck, TV news reporter Max Brackett (Hoffman) resents working for the station in Madeline, CA, and having to cover, say, the funding of the local natural history museum. As luck would have it, while he's in the museum, none-too-bright security guard Sam Baily (Travolta) turns up to argue over his recent sacking with his former boss (Danner); shooting another employee in panic, he half-reluctantly creates a siege situation, complete with schoolkids at risk. Faced with an exclusive inside story, Brackett decides to try to prolong - indeed, to stage manage - the crisis. But can he revive his career without endangering his fellow hostages? Costa-Gavras' film is far from original but serves as a taut, tidy thriller with an engagingly cynical take on the opportunism of the media. It benefits from a decent cast (including Alda in a typically slimy turn as the network anchorman determined to profit from Brackett's scoop), while Travolta gives one of his finest performances in perhaps his most dramatically demanding role to date.
Cast and crew