‘Kidnap’ Movie Review – Halle Berry Does Her Best in an Okay Thriller
Kidnap focuses on Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) as she goes full-throttle to save her kidnapped 6-year old son Frankie (Sage Correa) in an entertaining mess of a thriller.
This review contains spoilers for Kidnap. Be warned!
If you’ve been reading my Kidnap coverage, you would know that I’ve been waiting years to see this film. It was supposed to come out back in 2015, kind of like a follow-up to Halle’s The Call, but was continuously pushed back due to Relativity Media (the distributor) announcing bankruptcy. Finally, it was picked up by Aviron Pictures and is set to debut in U.S theatres on August 4, 2017.
Regardless of how well this film does at the box office, I do feel that the team involved are just glad that Kidnap saw a release. It’s also Halle’s first major production under her 606 Films banner, named after her anti-paparazzi bill. Being able to finally close the chapter on Kidnap, I’m looking forward to seeing what she produces next.
Coming to the film itself, I have to be honest that it is a mess, though an enjoyable one. However, it’s not the fault of the actors. All of them do what they can with the material they were given. Most of the fault lies with the editing. I guess with all the drama involving Relativity Media, Halle and her team had to make do with the final cut they were able to snatch up. The editing feels all over the place. There’s use of some unnecessary slow motion and even a repetitive shot of a speedometer as Halle drives through traffic.
Also, the plot is very simple. Halle is a no-nonsense waitress and a divorced single mother who is trying to keep custody of her son. She takes Frankie to a park and he gets kidnapped right in front of her eyes! The rest of the story follows Halle as she drives her minivan after the kidnappers.
Seeing her son being dragged away was one of the best scenes in the film. It received gasps from the theater’s audience. That’s the kind of movie Kidnap is. There isn’t much meat or fleshed out characters but it does have scenes that will get the audience to react in a positive manner. It’s a popcorn movie. Trying to make sense of the film will only annoy you. I did and had to stop ten minutes in. It allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the film.
Halle causing accidents and potentially killing people on the highway? Don’t think about it! Halle don’t care about no overturned cars.
No one in the park even tried to stop suspicious looking white people from dragging a kid of color toward a car? It happened so just roll with it.
I love Halle when she’s acting all crazy and is focused on acting instead of looking pretty. She goes all out in Kidnap and that helps elevate the film a bit. You’ll see her screaming, cursing, covered in blood, and showing anger. It is a Halle Berry movie and she delivers in spades. Halle has always been vocal about not being able to get certain parts because she’s considered too beautiful. So, it’s always good to see her finding and picking characters that help her break away from looking glamorous.
There are some scenes in the film that feel too convenient, especially the part where she drops her phone when in pursuit of the kidnappers. Halle doesn’t make the best choices in the film. But I guess people are allowed to make mistakes when they don’t know what they’re supposed to do.
The main character is trying to figure out things as she drives her minivan to save her kid. You can tell she doesn’t even know what she’s supposed to do if she does catch up to them. She isn’t a trained fighter so seeing a normal mother trying to do what she could to save her child and finally take control of the situation was fun. The scene where she put on Margo’s (played amazingly by Chris McGinn) shirt to fool the other kidnapper was awesome!
Director Luis Prieto did what he could with the film’s plot. Again, I do believe it’s the editing that could have been done a lot better. Even screenwriter Knate Lee answers questions the audience might have such as showing how much gas is left in the car’s tank and Halle not being able to stop her pursuit to call the police.
Also, I don’t know if the scene where a policeman (that looked white) was more interested in ordering a black woman of color to stop her car while she was yelling at him to save her child was some sort of political commentary or not but it did feel like it. I guess it doesn’t matter to the police that there’s a suspicious looking Mustang not far away with a kidnapped child inside as long as they have a person of color to stop on the road.
The third act continues with the thrills as Halle confronts the kidnappers and learns about a darker plot. Margo and Terrence (Lew Temple) are okay with killing anyone who gets in their way and that makes them formidable opponents for a normal mother who works as a waitress.
Anyway, Kidnap does have its faults. But if you’re a fan of female characters saving the day, you’ll probably end up enjoying the film.
Kidnap will be released in the U.S on August 4, 2017. It is rated R and has a run time of around 80 minutes.
Have you watched Kidnap yet? What did you think? Let us know.
Farid has a Masters in Psychology and is the author of numerous books including Arousing the Legacy, Missing in Somerville, The Game Master of Somerville, and The Escaped Murderer of Somerville. He gives us insight on comics, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies. He reviews shows such as Gotham and Teen Wolf.
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