Friday, August 4, 2017

Movie with Abe: Kidnap

Directed by Luis Prieto
Released August 4, 2017

The revenge thriller has become a popular genre, with many films declaring that their featured villains have messed with the wrong person. There are variations of this, of course, especially in terms of how severe the initial offending act was. Such films that deal with the abduction and/or murder of a child can have an added sense of fury from the parent who seeks to avenge, and usually that kind of premise leads down an increasingly violent and dark road. This setup can also represent a serious misfire, best described as an idea that never needed to come to fruition.

Karla (Halle Berry) is introduced as a hard-working woman who puts in plenty of effort to her waitressing job, staying late to cover an absent coworker’s shift when she just wants to take the day to be with her son Frankie (Sage Correa). A call from her divorce attorney at a park takes her away from Frankie for just a minute, and in that time, he gets grabbed by a vicious couple with unknown aims. Determined not to lose him, she jumps into her minivan and begins a nearly film-long pursuit of the vehicle that serves as her only hope of saving her son.

This film is essentially just one long car chase, but not one that operates all that quickly. Confusing camera angles beg the question of exactly how physics play into this particular pursuit, and there are frequent pan-out shots that seem to show the cars moving extremely slowly, which is the opposite of thrilling. This film feels like a poor imitation of “Speed,” and at times its music even seems to mimic the theme of that much, much better movie. It’s hard to figure out exactly what the point of this film is as it tries its hardest to feel relevant and invigorating.

Berry is an Oscar-winning actress who hasn’t been making all that many films lately and hasn’t made something of note in a number of years. This role is hardly a return to form for her, but that’s probably equally the fault of the terrible writing, which finds her narrating a good portion of the film’s developments as she verbalizes her inner struggle. The kidnappers are just as poorly conceived, and even less appealingly, this film is a stressful experience that creates an environment of discomfort and angst for no good reason. Its title isn’t even in a coherent form, representing the frantic and unnecessary nature of this slow-burn, off-putting vehicular tour of Louisiana roads.


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