KIDNAP review by Patrick Hendrickson – Halle Berry isn’t giving her son up easily

KIDNAP review by Patrick Hendrickson – Halle Berry isn’t giving her son up easily

KIDNAP, directed by Luis Prieto, stars Halle Berry as Karla – a single mother whose son Frankie is kidnapped after a day at an amusement park. The plot is as simple, Karla sees her son Frankie getting dragged into a car and immediately gets into a high-speed chase with the vehicle. The movie starts very effectively by showing home videos of Frankie growing up to the point of where the story starts. It’s hard not to care when he gets kidnapped and even harder to not care about Karla getting him back safely. The kidnapping happens within the first 15 minutes and rarely do things slow down from that point. There are maybe only two or three scenes where things are not moving at this fast pace, which means there is very little downtime for the audience.

This frantic pace works well for keeping the plot from dragging at any point, but it does have a few detriments. The editing at times makes things hard to follow during the early portions of the chase. There were several moments where one could easily make the mistake that Karla herself had crashed and that her car would be wrecked but then immediately she was back after the kidnappers. Once things have settled down relative to the earlier moments of the film it becomes a lot easier to follow exactly what’s happening. The writing of KIDNAP is hit-and- miss. The plot is excellent in its simplicity but the characterization of Karla can be a bit odd at times. She is alone in her car for the majority of the movie but this does not stop her from constantly speaking to the empty air beyond the normal amount of talking to oneself. Having another person in the car would negate this issue but it would also take away from the isolated and desperate mood of things.

One of the more compelling things about Karla is the fact that she is a regular person, unlike other films involving rescue attempts like TAKEN or even DIE HARD wherein the protagonist has some kind of training to handle emergency situations. In some ways she shows even more determination because of this and because of her complete lack of resources. She has no phone, she has nobody to help her, and does not even have a means to defend herself. The situation is truly as desperate and as impossible as it could be.

The villains are not very fleshed out characters but this is not a problem because it would only drag the movie down to give them any development. The pacing is frantic for the majority of the run time and this is in its favor because if it took any longer then things would probably start to fall apart. Halle Berry does a great job in her role and has to carry things mostly on her own because she rarely interacts with anyone else. The production is also only as long as it needs to be without any unnecessary plot twists or anything like that. Overall, KIDNAP gets a 4/5.

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