“Kidnap”: An Unintelligent Mess

Kidnap

“Kidnap” is a movie directed by Luis Prieto and stars Halle Berry. The movie is about a mother named Karla Dyson, (Berry) whose son, Frankie, is kidnapped at the park, which leads Dyson down a path in which she will stop at nothing to rescue her beloved son. “Kidnap” was originally supposed to release in theaters in 2014, when its production company went bankrupt. It has had its release date pushed back 5 times until finally being released this past weekend.

The Good

While the plot is certainly messy, the premise is there. The premise of this movie makes me believe that this can be a perfectly enjoyable thriller. The idea of a mother going to desperate measures to rescue her kidnapped child, who is pretty much all she has in life, is a pretty good concept for a movie. It just needed to be put in the right hands and needed to be executed properly.

There are a select couple of action sequences that are intense and gripping. Every once in awhile, a clever and well-shot series of events manages to come together. Unfortunately, this was only a few times.

I just wanted this movie to be an enjoyable, intense thriller. I was not expecting it to be my favorite movie of the year, but I wanted to enjoy my time in the theater. At times, I did feel this. I felt like at times I was invested, and what was transpiring on screen was entertaining and I was excited to see what would happen next. However, with this premise, this shouldn’t be that hard to achieve, and I wish that feeling would have stuck around for me the entire movie.

The Bad

I despise movies that treat the audience like we are morons. Kidnap does this to the max, and this is a large reason why this movie got off to a rocky start with me, and it never got much better. The writing for this movie is composed of Halle Berry’s character, who is mostly alone on her journey to rescue her son, speaking everything out loud to herself. She constantly is saying out loud exactly what she is thinking or what she is going to do next. I would understand if this were used as a strategy to sparsely allow us inside the mind of a mother on the brink of craziness due to the nature of her child being in peril, but it is so overdone it hurts. I feel like there could have been a much cleverer and less on-the-nose way for some dialogue to be utilized to keep this from being a silent movie. This just feels lazy.

Maybe the single most annoying thing about this movie is the editing. It is terrible, especially during action sequences, there are so many cuts, I rarely even know what I am actually watching. Aforementioned, there are a couple times where they refrain from using so many cuts, and it looks watchable, but the majority of the time, I had no idea what is even going on during the scene, and that was absolutely maddening. Not only are there tons of cuts, but also some extremely irrelevant shots. I remember one vividly where the camera just kept zooming until the entire screen was filled with the image of about half of the taillight of the minivan Halle Berry’s character was driving. I was puzzled.

I mentioned my hope for the premise of this movie, and while the concept is fine, its execution is far from it. There are an innumerable amount of plot holes that just do not at all add up to what happened before and after said plot hole. I can think of multiple questions that were left totally unanswered and disregarded, and I can think of a plethora of other parts of the plot that turned out to have zero impact on the outcome. Not only were there numerous plot holes, but so many unrealistic and far-fetched aspects of this movie. Sometimes, the things that were answered didn’t even actually make sense.  This was just frustrating, as I felt this was another clear sign of laziness in the writer’s room.

There was a very annoying inconsistency in our characters that bothered me throughout. I couldn’t tell if the mother I was watching was smart, and was going to break the movie clichés that I would expect of our main character in a poorly made film, or if she was stupid. Sometimes, she would make smart decisions and show a clear ability to be able to think outside the box and more importantly, think rationally, and then the next scene, she would make an absolutely idiotic decision – one so moronic that no person who just made the previous smart decision would also make this very, very dumb one.

As for Halle Berry, I have mixed feelings about her performance. She tried, but the writing kind of just set her up for failure. This script consists of a lot of Berry’s character screaming on the top of her lungs and yelling, “Oh my God!” in a car by herself. It’s quite disastrous, but I suppose I wouldn’t put all of the blame on Berry.

Lastly, if you have ever seen “The Call” which weirdly enough, also stars Halle Berry, you will see some eerie similarities between the two, and it kind of just feels like any of those movies that you can find on Lifetime late at night. Bottom line, I am just pretty confused why this movie was even made, and I am not surprised that its release date was pushed back nearly three years.

Conclusion

Overall, “Kidnap,” is a messy, mostly unenjoyable movie that feels like something we’ve already seen before. The poor writing and editing take the cake in a showcase of bad filmmaking, and while it has its moments of intensity and entertaining, it is nonetheless quite pointless and annoying. I would not recommend watching this film, as it does not nail down the simple concept that it promises.

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Get tickets and showtimes for “Kidnap” here

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