Three hooded Eastern-European criminals burst into a home in a Madrid gated community, holding the family hostage in its own home, and forcing the father to empty his credit cards.Three hooded Eastern-European criminals burst into a home in a Madrid gated community, holding the family hostage in its own home, and forcing the father to empty his credit cards.Three hooded Eastern-European criminals burst into a home in a Madrid gated community, holding the family hostage in its own home, and forcing the father to empty his credit cards.
In "Kidnapped," director Miguel Angel Vivas has succeeded in bringing the horror, confusion, and chaos into full lens view of what this may look like for a well-to-do and quiet family unit. Once the stage is set and hell breaks loose, the underlying theme of this film is head-spinningly chaotic.
The film follows the archetype of many of its genre predecessors: a perfectly normal (if not mundane) opening, initial chaos, breakdown of the plan amongst its instigators, and a fitting climax. If you've already seen a bunch of similar movies and are sick to death of the formula, you can skip "Kidnapped." I'm comfortable saying you wouldn't enjoy it.
But if you are like me, and are overcome at the deeply horrifying notion of the home invasion, and you are intrigued at the ways artists bring this to the screen -- you will find something much deeper, genuine, and unsettling about this movie than in your previous pursuits.
The winning ingredient is Vivas's seamless direction, weaving an excessively intense story over twelve long cuts (no "A" and "B" cam here, folks). It contributes to an almost voyeuristic nature that the film harbors, in which you are attracted to something horrifying you are seeing with your own eyes, and cannot look away. Because of these long shots, the acting is often sustained over periods of several minutes, delivering what true and uninterrupted fear and shock may look like in this scenario. Action sometimes happens only intermittently; for example, scenes of extended quiet sobbing are ferociously punctuated by a gunshot or a threat, in a way that constantly demands the audience's attention. The cinematography, editing, and score are up to par with Vivas's vision, and rope everything together to create scenes of unbearable tension.
As far as home invasion films go, "Kidnapped" may be the most flawlessly produced film in its genre.
Unfortunately, I found the final fifteen minutes of the film to descend into a level of violence and absurdity that does not match with the rest of the film's style. The false ending and subsequent conclusion ended the film on a gimmicky platform that left a bad taste in my mouth. To explain fully, I would need to give away the ending -- but hopefully you'll see what I mean.
To the genre fan, the sloppy ending should not deter you from seeing "Kidnapped." This is an overall captivating movie, and should absolutely be on your radar.
A quick note -- seek out the Spanish-language version of this film. In order for the director's vision to shine through, you need the original dialogue. The English-version dub is awful and will take away from your viewing experience.
- Jan 25, 2019