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Kidnapping Mr. Heineken Blu-ray Review

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015) movie poster Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

US Theatrical Release: March 6, 2015 / Running Time: 95 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Daniel Alfredson / Writers: William Brookfield (screenplay), Peter R. de Vries (book The Kidnapping of Alfred Heineken)

Cast: Jim Sturgess (Cor van Hout), Sam Worthington (Willem Holleeder), Ryan Kwanten (Jan "Cat" Boellard), Anthony Hopkings (Freddy Heineken), Mark van Eeuwen (Frans "Spikes" Meijer), Thomas Cocquerel (Martin "Brakes" Ekamps), Jemima West (Sonja Holleeder), David Dencik (Ab Doderer)

Buy Kidnapping Mr. Heineken from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

You'd think that holding the lead role in the top-grossing film of all time would ensure international movie stardom for as long as you lived.
Much like Mark Hamill and Henry Thomas, though, that has not been the case for Avatar's Sam Worthington. Hollywood gave Worthington one chance to carry a movie on his own in 2012's Man on a Ledge. It bombed and since then, he has been reduced to playing second or third fiddle to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer Aniston in the flops Sabotage and Cake. Worthington has three long-developing Avatar sequels in three successive years to look forward to. Otherwise, the 38-year-old British-born Australian actor's film career looks pretty bleak.

Worthington's most recent film barely saw theatrical release. The true crime drama Kidnapping Mr. Heineken assigns Worthington second billing behind Jim Sturgess, another foreign young actor who flirted with American movie stardom (Across the Universe, 21, One Day) but appears to be on the outs.

"Kidnapping Mr. Heineken" stars Sam Worthington and Jim Sturgess as novice criminals and future Dutch kingpins Willem Holleeder and Cor van Hout.

This film, a British-Dutch production from Swedish director Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played with Fire, ...Kicked the Hornets' Nest), casts Worthington and Sturgess as Willem Holleeder and Cor van Hout, the ringleaders in the 1983 abduction of billionaire brewing magnate Freddy Heineken. As you can tell by those names, the real people are Dutch, but the Anglo actors make no attempt at a Dutch accent.

The film opens with Willem, Cor, and two of their friends being denied a business loan during this trying recession. They personally and forcefully evict the squatters who have taken over their company's building. In the process, they all wind up in jail briefly.

On New Year's Eve, the blonde, mustachioed Cor hatches the plan to target the obscenely wealthy Heineken, who long employed one of the guys' fathers until recently. Wanting their kidnapping to be mistaken for the work of professional criminals, these guys steal money from a bank to look legit. They build a soundproof cell in which to hold Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), who they nab along with his driver Ab Doderer (David Dencik), a disposable victim should things come to that.

The group demands a ransom of "35 million" (Dutch guilders, the equivalent of 16 million Euros). They wait, taking all sorts of precautions. Mr. Heineken proves to be a cooperative captive, who politely makes a number of requests, from Schubert to bang bang chicken.

Anthony Hopkins plays Freddy Heineken, the abducted billionaire brewer.

We are clearly supposed to have sympathy for these criminals. Cor is expecting his first child with Willem's sister (Jemima West) and they've all got a friendly, jocular camaraderie.
But they're jerks preying upon an old man. Even if no one is getting hurt, it's difficult to appreciate the desperation behind the titular act.

It's also difficult to follow what's even going on. This may be a language issue; this appears to be Alfredson's first non-Swedish film. Sporadically seasoned screenwriter William Brookfield is British and he's adapting a 1987 book by Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries. Whether or not these languages posed obstacles, the movie is very selective about what it shows and when. It doesn't have some grand master plan to reveal these facts later la Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven. It just deprives us basic information regarding this plot, perhaps to keep things moving and the runtime down to a reasonable 95 minutes with credits.

Outside of Cor, none of the criminals is sufficiently developed, which makes it difficult to distinguish one from another, since Sturgess and Worthington are the cast's only obviously recognizable actors (although fans of HBO's "True Blood" will know third-billed Ryan Kwanten).

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken may be insignificant in most ways, but it does have one claim to fame, as the first home video release from Alchemy, the new name assumed by the former Millennium Entertainment.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken Blu-ray Disc cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extra Not Subtitled
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on DVD ($19.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

You generally expect a new movie, even a bad one, to look pretty good on Blu-ray. But Kidnapping Mr. Heineken does not look all that hot. The unsightly 2.40:1 widescreen presentation is consistently grainy, dark, and drab. Its colors are off, with its black levels being strikingly far from black. This isn't even the case of the film trying to look like a 1980s movie, because it doesn't. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack doesn't present any major problems, although I did find the English SDH subtitles of value.

Sonja Holleeder (Jemima West), Willem's sister and Cor's expectant partner, features in a number of the Blu-ray's deleted scenes. Freddy Heineken and driver's kidnapping is reported on a newspaper spotted on the Blu-ray's menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is joined by six short deleted scenes (HD), which, without a "Play All" listing, have to be viewed one at a time.
Running 5 minutes and 23 seconds altogether, they show us more of Cor and his pregnant girlfriend's home life.

A Previews page adds Kidnapping's two-minute theatrical trailer (HD) to the disc-opening ones for The Humbling, Good People, By the Gun, and The World Made Straight.

The menu loops actiony clips under a listings bar adapting the cover art.

Though the standard blue keepcase holds no inserts (sorry, digital copy fans), it is topped by a sleek, embossed slipcover repeating the artwork below.

After kidnapping Mr. Heineken, Willem (Sam Worthington) and Cor (Jim Sturgess) lay low and hope to avoid trouble.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

A heist film based on an historic true crime ought to be captivating and fascinating, but Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is neither. Hollow, tough to follow, and inexplicably dull, this unthrilling thriller does nothing to boost the employability of its somewhat accomplished cast and director. This easy to miss movie can be skipped with zero guilt.

Buy Kidnapping Mr. Heineken from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Jim Sturgess: Stonehearst Asylum Upside Down 21 Across the Universe The Way Back The Other Boleyn Girl
Sam Worthington: Last Night | Anthony Hopkins: Amistad Nixon Noah The Rite You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Ryan Kwanten: Reach Me | New to Blu-ray: U Turn Accidental Love The Immigrant A Most Violent Year Outcast
The Great Train Robbery Shallow Grave The Art of the Steal The Disappearance of Alice Creed Argo Ransom Rob the Mob

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Reviewed April 22, 2015.



Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2015 Alchemy, Embarkment Films, Informant Media, and Global Film.
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