Weekly Review: Kidnap (2017)

When her son is kidnapped right before her eyes, a panicked mother will stop at nothing to see his safe return.

Kidnap is a 2017 thriller starring Halle Berry. It’s been in a bit of a production limbo for several years. I remember seeing the trailers released for it back in summer of 2016, then it basically dropped off the face of the Earth until I saw trailers again during summer of 2017. I remember thinking, “Didn’t this come out already?”

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 4.19.46 PM

Most of the reactions I’ve seen to this movie are very similar. There was confusion about the release date because of the trailer being released twice. This made audiences feel like they’d seen the movie before, and it destroyed a lot of the excitement it could have had.

On top of that, I saw a lot of people comparing the plot to one of Halle Berry’s previous movies, The Call (2013). In both of these movies, Berry’s character takes it upon herself to save a child by ignoring the advice of police. These comparisons definitely have merit. The plots are very similar. Due to a plethora of production problems, they may have even been filmed around the same time.

I found the plot of Kidnap to be very “been there done that.” It seemed very poorly executed, all the way down to fades to black instead of showing a car crash that supposedly happened at one point.

There were moments where it seemed like the plot was going to go into slightly more intricate territory, but it ends in a way that seems too abrupt. Events are explained through voiceover instead of being shown. It all gets wrapped up in a very simple way.

A lot of these problems are probably because of the time it spent in production limbo. There was likely a lot of producer interference while the movie went from production company to production company. I’ll try to give it the benefit of the doubt in that way. It’s also very likely that this movie was genuinely bad from the start, but I’ll continue to give it the benefit of the doubt.

I want to give Halley Berry the benefit of the doubt too. She’s a decent actress, and I think she did a decent job with what she was given. The beginning of the movie seemed incredibly forced to me, but when it comes to the high stakes tension Berry is fully invested.

Overall, I wasn’t a big fan of Kidnap. I felt it was too single minded. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking for something that’s simple, but this was too simple for my taste. The action sequences weren’t good enough on their own to keep me invested. I was looking for something more.

Due to this, I probably wouldn’t outright recommend Kidnap. The Call was a more gripping thriller for me with a very similar plot, so I would point you in that direction instead.

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