Kidnap (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

Director: Luis Prieto
Writer: Knate Lee
Stars: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn

Although filmed in 2014 it took another 3 years before this film was released to the public due to original studio folding. Thankfully “Kidnap” finally got it’s release through Netflix and premiered back in August. Is it in the same league as Ransom, Taken or Breakdown, perhaps not but there are elements of all three movie in this production.

The Movie opens with a montage of Cinefilm featuring Frankie (Sage Correa) growing up from baby to toddler with his Mother Karla (Halle Berry) Movies tend to do this as a way to fast track and build a relationship up with it’s audience to show the relationship between the characters. Personally I didn’t think this was needed when the characters were Mother and Child but nevertheless the first 15 minutes of the film are also invested in their relationship and you are just waiting to see when the kidnap will take place.

At this point, the character of Karla is slightly scatty and easily harassed and in particular in the opening scenes in her place of work (Diner) you’d be forgiven to expect the kidnapping to take place in this sequence as Frankie is strategically placed at the doorway of the Diner and is left to his own devices. Clever trick on the Directors part to make the audience feel unease.

The actual kidnapping is more obvious as the story evolves in the first 15 minutes and we see a change in Berry’s character from a scatterbrain to a focused woman. The next 70 minutes is a chase scene basically and to be honest I enjoyed it. It was entertaining and although the cuts were a bit annoying at times I don’t think the situation lost its intensity over this.

Kidnap is a movie that is about a Kidnap and although that is it there are obstacles along the way. Halle Berry is believable in her role and although a few cheesy lines thrown in, Karla is a character you can sympathise with (particularly in her praying scene in the car) and has a mixture of emotions that serve for each scenario in a believable way. The hesitancy in her when her son is threatened right before her eyes during the chase is acceptable to the audience and although frustrating isn’t your typical Hollywood response.

The villains aren’t exactly fleshed out and portray more like henchmen for the brains behind the crime. We only know they are the “baddies” due to their actions but it isn’t discovered what their intentions are until half way through the movie and it isn’t until the last 15 minutes of the film that there is a mastermind behind the kidnapping and even then this person isn’t exactly developed as he appears for all of 2 minutes.

I mentioned pacing earlier in my review and as far as the action sequences go they are fine (apart from the punch up in the car involving Karla and the female villain which is a mess) and there is an element of suspense and intensity. My problem is in the way some of the movie is edited. There are far too many cuts in short spaces of time and you will feel disoriented in certain scenes.

For entertainment value it is enjoyable and you will be hooked from start to finish to see how the story pans out. Production wise it apparently had issues with 4 failed release dates and this cut looks a little rushed as if they “had” to get it out before a fifth attempt was cancelled. “Kidnap” is a recommendable movie if you enjoy high speed car chases and an intense storyline.

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