Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is the new chilling, suspenseful, crime, true story about the infamous kidnapping of Freddy Heineken. Immediately as soon as the film starts we're thrown in to the unfortunate lives of Willem, Cor, Jan, Frans and Martin. Five friends who are no stranger to crime but petty crime at that. One New Years night, group leader so to say, Cor Van Hout (played by Jim Sturgess - Cloud Atlas, 21) decides he and his friends are sick of the dead-end lives they have and need a drastic change. His plan to overcome this is to kidnap a local billionaire who can be reasonably plausible to take and Freddy Heineken (Sir Anthony Hopkins) fits the bill nicely.
One problem I found with this movie is the pacing and how it shifts completely unannounced. The first twenty minutes is quite slow but picks up as soon as their plan becomes more solid. One notable scene at the start of the movie is one I won't ruin, but it features the friends evicting people from their company building and involves some cool Bourne-like action which put a cool twist on a rather slow start to the movie.
Most of the faces in this movie are relatively new aside from the impeccable Sir Anthony Hopkins and the unpredictable Sam Worthington. The acting as a collective unit felt real and the chemistry was decent between the group although a little more of an origin/back story of the guys would have added to my concern for the characters.
One factor I quite enjoyed from the movie is the perspective of the kidnappers. It was very intriguing seeing one of the kidnappers nervous before checking in on the captive Freddy Heineken. In these type movies we're usually used to being on the side of the captive and seeing a demanding and in control captor and not seeing him prep himself outside the door before confronting the victim which I found a nice and grounding element to the movie.
The overall abduction of Freddy Heineken was both interesting and terrifying. It's not a fear I've ever had but this movie shows how simple it was to abduct a billionaire outside his very home which made for a tense and satisfying getaway which are so over-done in Hollywood nowadays but I was kept anxious to see if they were going to mess up all the way through.
"There's always an excuse if you're looking for one" Sam Worthington's character echos to his partner to ease him of the completely understandable fear of kidnapping such a high profile person. I usually have no opinion on Sam Worthington as an actor, he was decent in Avatar and good in the more recent Cake.But, I must admit I found him a striking character in this movie. He never said too much yet I feared him and felt concerned for his allies anytime they disagreed with him. He has a face of pure determination and even let some (little) comic relief in the movie at appropriate times. I enjoyed him as the chilling yet human Willem Holleeder. Another good performance is the obviously wonderful Sir Anthony Hopkins. Somehow more chilling than Worthington in his absurd calmness throughout the kidnapping and imprisonment. He never shows signs of breaking and showcases some very convincing skills of human social hacking. His presence is dearly needed as a familiar face is always welcome in ambitious movies like this one. As soon as he enters the fold about a third of the way in, the movie is instantly lifted by his presence. I think he really makes the movie a lot better and it makes me wonder if the movie would have been good without him. The rest of the cast are decent and they get the job done. I never really feel pity for them whenever things go wrong for them and I think that's a relationship that needs to be formed with an audience from the get-go. However, small performances from Jemima West and Thomas Cocquerel showcase some raw drama talent that's always welcome in my book.
Director Daniel Alfredson known for The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest establishes an authentic 80's tone set in the dreary, grim and grounded Amsterdam. Some scenes are shot superbly like one car/boat chase scene or the scenes utilizing Sir Anthony Hopkins are visually appealing. I think this director has a lot to offer in the realm of tense, thrillers that give you goosebumps to last and I will be looking out for his future movies, like this years thriller Go With Me (also starring Sir Anthony Hopkins). He also used some ironic product placement, seeing the guys drink Heineken was either an ironic joke or just obvious branding. Google had the fun workplace in The Internship (Owen Wilson), Apple had their products showcased in Sex Tape (Cameron Diaz) but Heineken have their owner Kidnapped. Nice. There is one joke that made me chuckle quite a bit which I wasn't expecting to do in this movie and that was when a random barman suggested that maybe Budweiser stole Freddy Heineken. I'm sure that's what everybody was saying around the time of the Kidnapping.
As much good in this film there is an equal amount of bad. The intensity and tension is undeniable and there are at least two if not three good performances but the pace of this movie is far too sporadic. The scenes are not seamlessly altered from tense and relaxing. When I was nervy watching a car chase scene they would all too quickly be relaxed before I am! I know I'm no criminal but I know that's not how it works. Also there is an abundance of cliché's in this movie that are totally avoidable and make it lose some genuinely quality. Some are unavoidable because it's a true story but some could have been left for the deleted scenes.
Overall, the movie is a insane story told a bit tame. The tension is partially maintained throughout and I didn't really lose concentration unless the shifting pace changes caught me off guard. It does however, potentially shape up to be one of the most tense and chilling movies of 2015 as it has a nice head start. Performances from Worthington and Hopkins keep you enticed in the ambitions idea of Kidnapping Mr. Heineken.
- Tense, chilling drama
- Worthington and Hopkins
- Car scenes with no urgency