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Review: Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Alchemy Pictures: Jim Sturgess and Sam Worthington star in "Kidnapping Mr. Heineken"

The one thing that I’ve found out years ago is that there are always stories to be told that are based on actual events. Not all of these are worth seeing, but they’ve made their mark in the world of cinema in a way that breeds some memorable moments. Maybe that’s what inspired the making of Daniel Alfredson’s  Kidnapping Mr. Heineken? If and when you watch it, you’ll clearly see how much of an impression these kinds of films left on him.

Growing ever so frustrated with their standing in life, a group of struggling friends decide that it’s time to make some quick money by getting their hands dirty. In order to do so, they come up with a plan surrounding the kidnapping of the insanely wealthy Mr. Heineken (Anthony Hopkins). It’s a bold move for the longtime friends, but they’re desperate and will do whatever they can to get the largest payday any of them will ever see if they’re successful.

With the ultimate plan in mind, this small group of inexperienced in criminal behavior sees the men take to robbing banks to get money and entering in shootouts as well as kidnapping the wealthy old chap. This way of life has them learning what it takes to do the unthinkable while also learning just how much of an impact these negative acts can have on their psyches and maybe even the ones they love.

When it comes down to it, there isn’t any time wasted getting into the story in Kidnapping Mr. Heineken. Soon after it starts, everything is flowing and we’re ready to get into the film’s second act. This is a bit too fast if you ask me. I usually like it when things are kicked off quickly, but this film doesn’t give you time to even really know the characters before they’re all of a sudden running through a hail of gunfire and making other life altering decisions that could see them facing harsh punishments.

Although this is based on actual events, I doubt the plan came together this fast unless it was already something they had been contemplating as a group well before they got to such a place of desperation depicted in the film. Then again, I probably shouldn’t complain too much about the swift entrance into the second act. This is a rare thing these days with many films taking forever to get into the tale that they’re trying to tell.

After all, it does slow down once it gets to the execution of this grand money making scheme. At this point, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken moves into a phase where they have to wait for things to sort themselves out. As with any kidnapping for ransom, the waiting game is a part of the execution, but unfortunately for us, this takes up a large chunk of the movie.

During this stage, it feels as if we’re waiting just as long as they must have waited in real life. It’s hard to keep maintain a consistent level of interest throughout this stuff, but lengthening the early scenes and shortening up the waiting period probably would have been best as far as quality entertainment is concerned. However, I can’t say this would have made the movie enjoyable overall because it’s still insipid and predictable.

After watching the film, I decided to look into the events that are spoken about in this story. What I found was that whoever thought this was worth telling probably should have focused on making a film about other things that some of these guys were involved in after these events were put behind them. That stuff is far more interesting than this and would have more likely than not, made for a better film.

As far as Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is concerned, there are plenty of other movies about these types of crimes that are done much better and actually have the ability to captivate their viewers. While this isn’t one of the absolute worst, it’s completely forgettable and worth skipping all together. If for some reason you feel the need to learn this story, just read up about it. You’re probably going to find more value in that.

Rating: R

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Jim Sturgess
Sam Worthington
Anthony Hopkins
Ryan Kwanten
Jemima West
Thomas Cocquerel

Film Length: 94 minutes

Release Date: March 6, 2015

Distributor: Alchemy Pictures

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