Kidnapped Movie Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
DVD released by IFC Films
Written and Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas
2010, 85 Minutes, Not Rated
Released on June 17th, 2011
Guillermo Barrientos as Asaltante Joven
Dritan Biba as Asaltante Jefe
Fernado Cayo as Jaime
César Díaz as Jefe Mudanza
Martijn Kuiper as Asltante Fuerte
Manuela Vellés as Isa
Ana Wagener as Marta
Xoel Yáñez as César
There are few things scarier than a home invasion. Your house is your private sanctum where no one should be able to hurt you. It's like hiding under the covers when you're a little kid. No monsters can get you. So what happens when a group of men bust into your house and hold you and your family captive? Your world shatters. Such is the case with Kidnapped.
The film follows Jaime, his wife Marta and his annoying daughter Isa as they move into their new mansion. Seriously, this house is gigantic. One of the movers is moonlighting as a thief, though, and returns in the night with some friends to take some of their belongings. They're smart and they've clearly done this before because everything is clean...at first. As is the case with most heists, emotions run high and something goes wrong. The culprits struggle to keep up as events escalate, all the while the victims are working against them and Isa is crying uncontrollably for about an hour.
Kidnapped has a plot that is similar to a number of films. The one that sprung to mind immediately was Funny Games. The two share the same brutal intensity akin to getting punched in the gut when you least expect it. What sets Kidnapped apart, though, is director Miguel Ángel Vivas's amazing camera work. Much of the film is shot in one take. There are cuts throughout the movie, but each scene is shot in one continuous take which totally sucked me in. Most films today that deal with any sort of action are filled with thousands of quick cuts that make it hard to follow what is going on. Kidnapped never let me blink throughout each intense scene. There is no confusion and Viva forces you to watch everything.
Isa (Manuela Vellés) is the one distracting part of the movie. If she's not bitching and complaining to her mom at the beginning, she's weeping non-stop for the rest of it. The events of Kidnapped are traumatizing to say the least and I understand that they would put most people into a state of shock, but having to listen to this girl moan for an hour is incredibly annoying. It just doesn't stop.
Isa's crying aside, there are only two scenes that bugged me. The opening scene really sets the tone of the film. It pulls you in right away and leaves you wanting to know more. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. I kept looking for the characters to pop up again somewhere else, but they never did. It's a standalone scene with no relevance whatsoever. The very end of the movie felt similarly confusing, but for different reasons. It seems like Viva got to towards the closing and then didn't know how to wrap it up so something was tossed in quickly. Yes, it's an ending, but it's one that doesn't make much sense given the journey we just went through for the past 85 minutes.
Aside from these points, Kidnapped is a tense thriller from beginning to end. I was pulled in and couldn't look away even once. Viva's long takes are great for this type of film and I wish more directors went this route because it adds so much more to the movie's tone that would have been ruined had it been cut up into a million pieces. Be warned though: You're going to be double checking the locks on your doors and windows after watching this.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.