Halle Berry produces and stars in the film Kidnap. The straightforward title describes the film in its entirety and its storyline. Halle Berry stars as Karla Dyson, a single mother who works as a waitress that would do anything for her son Frankie (Sage Correa). I like how the film gets straight to the point of the title (Kidnap) and the adrenaline rush starts after the first 15 minutes of the film. While taking a phone call at the park, she eludes to the fact she’s in a custody battle for Frankie (the opening scenes paint a vivid picture of how much her young son means to her). To keep in contact while on the phone every  5 – 10 seconds she’d yell out “Marco” and wait for his response of “Polo!” But it’s when her attorney delivered some bad news that  distracted her for all of a few seconds that she noticed something was amiss.

After she gets off the phone she begins to slowly retrace her steps while alternating between “Frankie!” and “Marco!” After her shouts continued without a response,  bystanders attempted to help. The interesting thing about this situation is just minutes later she actually catches a glimpse of the abductor. From that point on, the mission to retrieve her son from the clutches of a kidnapper begins.

Now, the main problem begins from this point on. Halle does far too much monologuing, to the point where some scenes begin to lean away from suspenseful and more towards cheesy.

The opening 10 minutes were very slow and extremely annoying. You’ll see all the production companies involved loop at least twice before you even get to the actual film. Once the film starts, you’ll see clips and old photos of Frankie leading up to the present. About 10 minutes will pass and you’ll end up at the park, where I first began this review. They really waste no time getting to the kidnapping part, which I’m totally ok with since that’s the whole point of the movie.

The car chase is probably the longest in movie history but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was exciting. The only problem I found during the chase was the copious amount of aloof ‘soccer mom’ moments she had. Aside from that, it’s pretty suspenseful.

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Some of the acting was spotty from all sides. The kidnappers were actually a couple named Margo and Terry (Chris McGinn and Lew Temple). Their initial exchanges with Karla were weird and somewhat awkward but after their first meeting, it gets better.

The best part of the entire film is the last 35 minutes. The last 35 minutes delivers edge-of-your-seat suspense, a pair of plot twists, and a huge surprise that you wouldn’t expect. In my opinion, the final third of the film basically saved the film from tanking (reviews haven’t been kind towards this).

I enjoyed how the film had a feeling of continuity. The entire film takes place in one day, from the moment they left the restaurant to the end which I won’t ruin for you (but it all takes place on the same day).

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The pivotal moment in the film came when she was finally able to talk to a sheriff. The sheriff attempted to calm her (Karla) down and told her to wait. As Karla tries to compose herself she notices a wall with postings of lost children. As she visually scans each post, the length of “been missing” for each one ranged from as recent as last year to as long as 2001. From that moment on she gathers herself and tells the sheriff “that’s the mistake their parents made… They waited,” and barges out of the sheriff’s office.

I’ll give the movie Kidnap 6.5 out of 10. It is rated R but it’s mainly for language because the death scenes aren’t that bad (nothing too gruesome). The film is ok, but what hurts the most is it could’ve been better. You’ll see what I mean when you see it. It’s one of those “if she would’ve done this instead” or “had she had the captor do that” type of stories. I’m not a fan of actors directing/producing films where they’re the star and very few have been able to pull it off. Halle came close but in my opinion, she missed the mark. How would I categorize this for your weekend? “Redbox it” in mid-September.

-Jon J.


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