Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: William Brookfield, Peter R. de Vries (book)
Stars: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten
“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” is the inside story of the planning and execution of the kidnapping of Beer Tycoon Alfred “Freddy” Heineken and the aftermath and downfall of Heineken’s kidnappers, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual.
The movie is set in Amsterdam in the early 1980’s and the recession has hit hard in Holland. A consortium of friends and colleagues are down on their luck and are refused a bank loan, due to their vital piece of collateral being a property that is residing squatters and with these residents entitlements intact their property according to the bank is worthless in its current state.
Enraged by this predicament Cor van Hout (Sturgess) proposes an outrageous plan to kidnap local millionaire, Freddy Heineken. In desperation I can only guess that there wasn’t much deliberation amongst the group on this proposal, which I felt and appeared a little convenient to hurry the first act along. To be fair though the planning was interesting enough and the construction of a sound proof hidden room to house the captures was imaginative. The group carry out the plans taking Heineken and his driver and holding them hostage, issuing a huge ransom demand to the authorities.
What I will say is that the movie deals with an interesting enough plot to capture the millionaire and I was concerned once captured the movie’s dramatical side would fizzle out rather quickly. Needless to say the writing deals with the effects and inconvenience of taking care of a hostage (or two) physiologically and their family lives suffer too. One element throughout the movie is Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Freddy Heineken. The captured appears to be in control of his situation from the very beginning and although the large ransom comes through at no point did Mr. Heineken lose the plot or crack under the pressure of the duration of his “stay” Some of the best and interesting scenes in the movie revolve around his demands for Chinese Food, Books and Classical Music books .
The group at times to me reminded me of the boys in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1997) where although there is an element of the seriousness of the crime. You can relate to them and at no point do you want to see any of them come to harm despite the crime they are committing. There is also a hint of humour that is similar to Guy Ritchie’s heist movie (Lock, Stock) in which the team realise they’ve left the ransom note in a photocopier nearby and the very thought of forgetting possibly the most important piece of evidence is rather amusing.
Unfortunately the movie becomes a little boring midway through and just churns along at a slow pace. This is where I felt that a little more humour may have worked to keep the audience interested and more importantly the movie lacked suspense and tension throughout and for its subject matter was a little alarming. “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” should have and could have been a better film as the plot should have been enough to keep it interesting and the cast of Hopkins, Sturgess and Worthington should have seen their characters a little more developed. Sadly there isn’t any standouts from within the group which surprised me as all of the men where very similar and if it wasn’t for the casting of Anthony Hopkins perhaps this movie may have suffered more.
The best moment in the movie for me was the Police eventually locating Mr Heineken and it’s Hopkins acting that shines through in this scene as we finally see his character breakdown in tears at the relief of being found and his driver also relieved of being discovered after so long in captivity.
“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” for me wasn’t as good as it should have been. I’m not saying this movie is garbage and don’t watch it. I will say that there are bits in it that are interesting enough and I can only say that maybe I just expected more from the story and the cast.