Friday, 13 March 2015

Kidnapping Mr Heineken: Film Review

Kidnapping Mr Heineken: Film Review

Cast: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Kwanten
Director: Daniel Alfredson

This story of the true life kidnapping of Freddy Heineken is the second telling of the same tale.

The Swedish director Alfredson (best known for his entrants into the Millennium trilogy) brings together the story of five friends who were financially down on their luck but determined to change things around.

After the recession hit and the group lost money, cash was becoming scarce for Cor Van Hout (Sturgess) and his pals (in among their number is True Blood star Ryan Kwanten and Avatar's Sam Worthington). With a successful robbery in the bag, the boys turn their swagger and attention to someone bigger and kidnap the heir to the Heineken brewery Freddy (a rather muted Hopkins) and decide to hold him ransom.

But time passes and the boys don't quite get the reception they want to their demands....and with the pressure mounting internally, their breaking point rapidly approaches.

Slick and flashy the first portion of Kidnapping Mr Heineken feels like a heist movie made in Hollywood, replete with car chases in Amsterdam and shots being sprayed left right and centre.

But it's here that some of the problems of Kidnapping Mr Heineken emerge; very little is done to set up the main characters in the group with really only Sturgess and Worthington getting the deeper treatment (perhaps that's unsurprising given that it's based on von Hout's book) - all have a range of accents too, with Worthington's Aussie twang being the chief offender which does little to set the tone of the piece or the inept group themselves.

Hopkins channels some of the calm psychosis that he had as Hannibal Lecter during his captivity as Mr Heineken, with hints of a deeper psychological game being played with the kidnappers (another thread that's under-developed), but these scenes skate along with hardly any back and forth for you to latch onto.

It's left to the overly bombastic OST to help set the mood and the group's subsequent demise (which comes out of left-field) and that does little to push Kidnapping Mr Heineken into taut thrilling territory.

While Sturgess and Worthington are solid players and Hopkins does brilliantly with his few scenes, there's little more at stake than just a once-over-lightly approach to the story and blatant exposition.

All in all Kidnapping Mr Heineken does little to fully capture your attention; a little more depth here and there would have worked wonders and left this brew with a stronger after-taste rather than the slightly sour and bitter one that you're left with when the lights go up.


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