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Kidnap: Movie Review

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I was expecting this film to be intense, but I didn’t realize that I would be holding my tongue back at the screen. Kidnap is directed by Luis Prieto and stars Halle Berry as Karla Dyson, a single mother. Berry’s character works at a diner to support her six year old son, Frankie played by Sage Correa. Despite the custody battle, Karla lives a simple life. Then Frankie disappears at the carnival when Karla steps away to take a call.

The film cuts straight to the chase. Not long after the initial disappearance, Karla witnesses her son being dragged by a woman into a car. Karla attempts to stop the car herself, but loses her cell phone in the process. Then she jumps in her minivan and tails behind them. This sets Karla on a race to chase her son and his kidnappers.

Berry’s performance deserves praise as she is primarily by herself most of the film. Her emotions were raw as she went through the terror of losing her only child. That terror pushes her forward to continue to pursue her son despite the danger. It was especially satisfying to cheer her on. She makes the best decisions she is handed due to the dire circumstances. For a good portion of the film, she is without a cell phone to call anybody for help. It’s all Karla and her minivan.

Frankie’s kidnappers, played by Lew Temple and Chris McGinn, are worthy adversaries. They refuse to back down even when Karla chases them in her minivan. In fact, they do anything they can to keep Frankie away from Karla—even threaten his life. Unlike Karla, this duo doesn’t have a limit to the sins they have to commit to keep Frankie in their grasp so others are harmed in the process. There were multiple times in the theater that I wanted to yell out at them in frustration. The acts that the kidnappers committed shocked me every step of the way. It pushed me to cheer on Karla more than I already was.

The cinematography did an excellent job in capturing the tense action sequences. It fooled me many times to think that Karla was safe when the in the next shot danger is right around the corner. The film itself moved very fast so the cinematography captured the intensity of each scene with ease. It was especially impressive since most of the film depicts Karla in a high speed chase with the kidnappers. The cinematography focused on Karla’s reactions rather than what was going on inside the kidnappers’ car. It created a sense of fear for Frankie since we have no idea what is being said in the car ahead of Karla.

It was refreshing to see a female-led action film. It did remind me a lot of Taken. The difference with that situation though is that Karla is a waitress while Bryan Mills is a retired CIA agent. She doesn’t have the same “particular set of skills” that Liam Neeson’s character has in Taken. That’s not to say that Karla isn’t smart. She’s clever enough to keep her son’s kidnappers at bay despite the kidnappers’ various attempts to ward her off. Plus, she can hold her own in a fight. It made the film more interesting to see what she would think of next as a mother who only wanted to see her son again.

Kidnap is an intense ride from the start. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and make you jump multiple times. I thought this was a very well done film and I recommend the movie to anyone looking for another action film to go see.

Kidnap (2017)
  Director:  Luis Prieto
Studio:  Universal and Relativity
Genre:  Suspense
MPAA:  R
Release Date:  August 4th, 2017
Author:  Emily Casebolt
Emily Casebolt Born in Albuquerque and raised in San Diego, Emily Casebolt is a graduate of New Mexico State University with degree in Digital Filmmaking. She writes and plots stories any chance she gets from screenplays to novels. On her freetime, she watches hours of Netflix and reads countless books. She aspires to be a television writer for a one hour drama. 

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