RONIN

USA 1998, 122 minutes

director.gif (905 bytes) John Frankenheimer

CAST

Robert De Niro - Sam
Stellan Skarsgård - Gregor

Jean Reno - Vincent
Sean Bean - Spence
Natasha McElhone - Deirdre
Jonathan Pryce - Seamus O'Rourke

 

THEATRE RELEASE

September 25, 1998


SYNOPSIS

Irish organizer Deidre assembles a team to grab a mysterious briefcase from criminals. They are never told who hired them or the true identity of their targets. The hired specialists are former CIA officer Sam, former Euro-intelligence agent Vincent, German electronics expert Gregor, driver Larry, and British weapons wrangler Spence. After a Seine shootout, the action moves to the South of France, with a recon mission in Cannes, and a chase that brings everyone to Nice. Inevitable betrayals ensue, along with more pursuits.
 


PRODUCTION NOTES:

Principal photography on the $20 million international action thriller, based on a screenplay by David Mamut, began on November 3, 1997 in an abandoned workshop in Aubervilliers, a working-class suburb of Paris.  The company shot more than 20 set-ups that first day. Another sequence was shot in the Parisian subway station at Porte de Lilas before the company moved to Arles on November 17. The central location used in Arles was the city's historic Place Du Forum d'Arles. Upon the completion of that sequence, the company moved to its next base of operations in Nice. There, the first of the film's harrowing car chases was shot on the narrow streets of Old Nice. While they were based in Nice, sequences were also shot at the luxurious Hotel Majestic in Cannes, at the ancient village of La Turbie and in the town of Villefranche. On December 19, the company returned to Paris for a two-week break for the holidays. Shooting resumed on January 5 on the soundstages at Studios Éclair in Epinay.

Frankenheimer was able to draw on his extensive knowledge of Parisian sites. He incorporated locations as varied as the Pont Alexandre III bridge, the Pere Lachaise cemetary, a deteriorating truckers' café outside the city, and various elegant spots along the Duquesne, Segur and Breteuil avenues in Paris. An additional series of spectacular car stunts were staged in the city, at locations ranging from the Pont de Garigliano bridge to La Defense and in the Champerret Tunnel.

The film's climactic sequence was shot at the huge arena at the Zenith, and involved nearly 2000 extras. The scene, in which the story's various characters and several parallel subplots converge, was another logistical challenge for the filmmakers. After shooting an intricate high-speed car chase near La Defense, principal photography on Ronin was completed on March 3, 1998.

IMAGES:

STELLAN:

"Gregor appears to be a rather mysterious, cold and sad guy. You don't know where he comes from, where he's going or what his plans are. And you can only guess what his motives are."

PRAISE FOR STELLAN:

"An extraordinary cast of actors, all on the same formidable wavelength, match wits impressively. Robert De Niro and Jean Reno form an early camaraderie... while Jonathan Pryce and Stellan Skarsgård give the story's maneuverings a few more sinister shadings."    ...NY Times

"The cast is undeniably top-notch, and there isn't a weak link... Robert De Niro, doing a rare action film, is a perfect choice for the unflabbable Sam... Equally impertubable are Stellan Skarsgård and Jean Reno."    ...James Berardinelli

"The performances by De Niro, Stellan Skarsgård, Natasha McElhone and Jean Reno are on the mark."    ...Film Threat

"Natasha McElhone, Jonathan Pryce and Stellan Skarsgård also turn in full-bodied performances, giving their characters depth and credibility, making the film an impressively intense experience."   ...DVD Review

"Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean and Michael Lonsdale all turn in superb supporting performances."  ...The Cinema Laser

"Skarsgård is absolutely chilling as Gregor, the 'tech guy'. He blew be away in Good Will Hunting, and he blows me away here."   ...Chud.com

"Skarsgård, so likeable in Good Will Hunting, shows a nastier side here to good effect."   ...Film Journal

"De Niro is simply magnetizing in his portrayal of a desperate ex-spy. Jean Reno and Stellan Skarsgård are also impressive."   ...Cinematter

"Pryce and Skarsgård stand out in their villain roles."    ...Ozus World

"The actual sensation of the film is however a Swedish actor named Stellan Skarsgård."  ...Cosmopolis, ch


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