'Kidnapping Mr. Heineken' Struggles to Forge Its Own Identity
One of the most audacious and infamous crimes in recent history is played out on the big screen for the first time. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is a tough, rugged kind of a movie but it struggles to forge out its own identity.
Too many ideas and Plot overkill
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is filled with too many ideas, relationships, and situations with plot overkill. And they seem to share the notion that if something is big enough and expensive enough, it will also be dramatic enough within confines of such a story. It misses beats that would make this movie more slick in its approach to a narrative as intriguing as this one.
When they’re turned down for a bank loan that would let them go straight, low-level career criminals Cor Van Hout (Jim Sturgess - Cloud Atlas, One Day), Willem Holleeder (Sam Worthington – Avatar, Sabotage) and friends strike upon an idea to solve all of their problems in one fell swoop – the kidnapping of Freddy Heineken (Sir Anthony Hopkins – Thor: The Dark World, The Silence Of The Lambs), heir to the brewing empire and one of the wealthiest men in the Netherlands. Robbing banks to fund a meticulous operation, the group falls deeper into criminality before pulling off the plan and abducting Heineken and his driver, holding them both for 21 days before a ransom of 35 million Dutch guilder is paid – equivalent to €15 million and still the largest sum ever paid as a ransom for a single person. However, the reality of life on the run and the pressures of guilt soon begin to infect the group as it starts to unravel from within.
Hopkins shines when given the chance
Directed by acclaimed Swedish filmmaker, Daniel Alfredson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy), Kidnapping Mr. Heineken promises to be a double-barreled, killer combination of a gripping heist movie and a tense psychological thriller. But as the groups dynamics and the subtle influence of Heineken on his captors start to eat away at a ‘perfect’ plan, this movie becomes a tad predictable in its narrative drive.
Given it’s A-list cast and skilled director, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is a slight let down given the potential such a story as this has. Hopkins does shine when he's given the spotlight. When on-screen he shows the potential this movie has and threatens to turn it into something psychological or even pathological, but regrettably, the script lets him down and he is restrained from growing into the picture and becoming its defining performance. With that said, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken fails to capture the same joys its characters achieve when they pick up their ransom. Unfortunately, they're the only real winners.