Combustible Celluloid
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With: Anthony Hopkins, Sam Worthington, Jim Sturgess, Ryan Kwanten, Jemima West, Thomas Cocquerel, Mark van Eeuwen
Written by: William Brookfield, Peter R. de Vries
Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout
Running Time: 95
Date: 03/06/2015

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Beer and Present Danger

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Daniel Alfredson, who directed the second the second and third films in the hit Swedish trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, should be familiar with complex crime films. But even though truth is stranger than fiction, his new movie Kidnapping Mr. Heineken doesn't spark to life. We know going in that this case involved the highest ransom ever paid at that time, so we can guess what the outcome of the story is. There's no real suspense.

In 1983 in the Netherlands, five friends led by soon-to-be brothers-in-law Cor Van Hout (Jim Sturgess) and Willem Holleeder (Sam Worthington) attempt to get a legitimate bank loan to start a business, but are turned down. Looking for a reasonable source of income, they hit on a plan to kidnap the country's richest person, Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins). After meticulous planning, they pull off the job, grabbing Heineken and his chauffeur, and settle in waiting for the ransom money to come in. The weeks roll by and nerves become increasingly frayed. Finally the payoff comes, and it's huge; but can they get away with it and still remain friends?

That, plus the details of the kidnapping aren't quite as nutty or as inventive as a fiction film might have been. The tensest moment comes when the kidnappers realize they left the ransom note on a copy machine; they retrieve it, and everything's okay. The characters never feel alive, and we're not even sure how they know each other. In their roles, Jim Sturgess and Sam Worthington can only give middling performances. However, Anthony Hopkins is entertaining in brief spurts as the chatty victim.

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