When this film came out in 1998 the two things that caught the public’s attention were the incredible car chases and the fact that Olympic gold medalist ice skater Katarina Witt had a small role in the film. Believe me there were definitely other remarkable things about this film.
It was one of those types of films that are super cool without turning you off. Director John Frankenheimer (French Connection 2, The Manchurian Candidate) really knows what it takes to make an action and tension filled film. The film is fast paced and filled with paranoia. The camera work in the film, especially that second car chase, is incredible. Robert DeNiro is, as usual, quite cool in the film and gets in a few great lines. The plot thickens throughout this film (you have to pay attention to this one) and there are many twists. Admittedly some parts of the film are unbelievable or predictable, but it still ends up being an above average film.
Frankenheim has given audiences an action film in the style of how they used to be made long ago. Make sure you watch the alternate ending, which I guess was cut because test audiences wanted that happy ending, it is quite interesting.
A group of freelance operations specialists are gathered together by Deirdre (Natascha McElhone – The Truman Show, The Devil’s Own), a close-mouthed Irish woman. Sam (Robert DeNiro) is a former U.S. Intelligence agent, Vincent (Jean Reno – The Professional, The Da Vinci Code) is a Frenchman who can get the group anything they need for the assignment, Spence (Sean Bean – Flightplan, North Country) was formerly in the British army, Larry (Skipp Sudduth – from television’s Third Watch) an expert driver, and Gregor (Stellan Skarsgard – Dogville, Dancer in the Dark) is a German computer/tech expert. These covert mercenaries are assembled in France and are given a seemingly routine assignment to steal a briefcase, contents unknown, from a man who is about to sell it to the Russians.
Sam shows that he will be the brains behind the operation by out maneuvering Spence, exposing Spence’s weaknesses and having him eliminated from the group. Deirdre will not give the remaining mercenaries many details about the operation, so this makes it harder for Sam to design a plan. On the day that they have planned to grab the briefcase everything seems to be going well until a double cross happens and Deirdre, Sam and Vincent are left to try and figure out how to get the briefcase before the Russians do. The question of who to trust comes up again and again.
- Audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer
- Brand new video interview with director of photography Robert Fraisse
- Paul Joyce documentary on Robert De Niro
- Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane, an archival behind-the-scenes
- Through the Lens
- The Driving of Ronin
- Natascha McElhone: An Actor’s Process
- Composing the Ronin Score
- In the Ronin Cutting Room
- Venice Film Festival interviews with Robert De Niro, Jean Reno and Natascha McElhone
- Alternate ending
- Theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips
- First pressing only: Collector’s booklet illustrated by Chris Malbon, featuring new writing on the film by critic Travis Crawford