I am usually disappointed with the movie after reading the book, and that is why in several cases I do not even bother to go through the exercise of watching it. I read "24 Hours", the book by Greg Iles on which the movie is based, a couple of years ago and was satisfied with the experience. When the movie came out I did not even give it a second glance, but when Charlize Theron won the Oscar for best actress for her performance in "Monster", I decided that maybe I should give other of her performances a try.
The script, written by Iles, is faithful to the book. A team of kidnappers has found a "perfect" modus operandi; they grab a rich kid and at the same time one of the members of the team stays with the mother and another with the father to keep them in check. In this way everything runs smoothly...or maybe not. Now they have chosen the wrong family to mess with, since they will not go down without a fight.
Kevin Bacon plays Joe, the leader of the kidnappers' team, who is in charge of staying with the mother of the victim (Charlize Theron). The movie goes back and forth between this pair and the one formed by Stuart Townsend, who plays the role of the father, and Courtney Love, the female member of the gang. This separation makes the difference in the quality of the acting strikingly obvious, with Bacon and Theron shinning compared to Townsend and Love.
The movie, as the book, presents a thriller with a non-stop pace, which keeps the audience on edge. The sexual tension between the kidnappers and the victims present in the book is well achieved in the movie too. The main weakness of the movie is the ending, which is rushed compared to the novel. Therefore, it does not achieve such a high climax and disappoints those who read the book a little bit towards the end. To sum up, this is a good movie based on a very good book.