film reel image

film reel image

Friday, December 8, 2017

Kidnap 2017 * * * Stars

KidnapDirector: Luis Prieto
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Halle Berry, Lew Temple, Sage Correa

"You took the wrong kid". Darn right. You tell em' Halle Berry. Berry plays Karla Dyson, a divorced mom whose tyke gets snatched up from her at a local carnival. Dyson then grudgingly pursues the captors in 2017's Kidnap (my latest write-up).

Filmed nearly three years ago, this 95-minute pic was just released this summer. In Hollywood, shelving a movie for that amount of time is never a good sign. Here's the thing though: Kidnap is happily an exception to the rule. Heck, I kinda liked it.

Now granted, Kidnap is no masterpiece. It's not readily memorable nor does it make any sort of bold statement. Still, Berry's latest is tight and taut. It's the not-so-little B-movie that could. It's also a thriller that holds you in its grip right from the 10-minute mark to the end credits.

Image result for Kidnap movie scenes 2017Kidnap, which makes good use of Louisiana locales, slightly reminded me of Breakdown and Steven Spielberg's Duel. Breakdown had Kurt Russell trying to retrieve his abducted wife. Kidnap has Halle Berry trying to get back her abducted son. Both flicks take place over a similar period of time (1 day and 1 night), both flicks are undeniably nail-biting, and both flicks have virtually the same running time. Breakdown may be more explanatory with its storytelling. Also, Breakdown may be more involving with its characters. Regardless, Kidnap is a decent companion piece to Russell's 1997 foray into bumpkin darkness. It's worth a surrendered recommendation.

Kidnap's main hook, is that the whole film is literally one singular car chase. My man William Friedkin would be tuckered out just trying to shoot what's going on here. Kidnap's editing done by Avi Youabian (TV's The Walking Dead, The Call), is distinctive with induced attention to detail (I love the speedometer closeups). Vehicles loudly smash up against each other, people die (or appear to die), and cops as usual, are clueless.

Star Halle Berry gets put through the ringer in Kidnap. As the movie concludes, she appears as though she has aged twenty years. Kudos to the makeup department for giving Berry that look of going through hell and then coming out the other end exhausted. Her performance isn't award- worthy mind you (Berry's Karla talks to herself a lot and it's pretty annoying). However, she tries her darnedest to let the audience feel her nerve endings, her relentless fervor, and her body language which shows that she's solely hopped up on adrenaline.

Image result for Kidnap movie scenes 2017In conclusion, Halle Berry is basically the only trouper Kidnap focuses on. Everyone else is sort of faceless, nameless, and pushed to the side. Bottom line: Kidnap doesn't rely on buildup, elaborate plot
workings, or moments of silence. It's a rushed, genre exercise meant to take you on a wild ride and then quickly drop you off. I'll give it three stars as sustenance-free entertainment.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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