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Kidnap (2017)

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In the US, a chilKidnapd goes missing every 40 seconds. You never think it will happen to you. Until it does. Alone and scared, Karla Dyson is unwilling to leave the fate of her son’s life in someone else’s hands. When she catches a glimpse of the abductors speeding away, she decides to fight back. In a heart pounding race against time, Karla begins a high speed pursuit and will stop at nothing to save her son’s life.

Genre : Thriller
Country : USA

Cast :
Halle Berry : Karla Dyson
Sage Correa : Frankie
Lew Temple : Terry

Director :
Louis Prieto

My opinion on “Kidnap”

“Okay, God, I know I never pray to you unless somebody is sick.
Or somebody’s dying or in an airplane.
But, God, please don’t let me lose him.”

Do you remember “The Call” from a few years ago, with Halle Berry as a member of a 911 call center who was constantly talking to the victim of a kidnapping case. A victim who was locked up in the trunk of the kidnapper’s car. It was a story full of nonsense but it was terribly exciting and unnerving. Here it’s about something similar. Only now, Halle Berry is the one whose son is kidnapped by an unknown, after which she starts to chase the kidnappers with her car. Ultimately, this film is nothing more than one long car chase with Karla driving her burgundy red SUV. I can already tell you this. It’s also a thrilling movie. But unfortunately, it’s also full of nonsense and irritating developments.

Kidnap

Yes, it’s exciting. But it’s even more annoying.

Kidnap” is not only about kidnapping innocent kids, but it’s also about the desperation and perseverance of a mother. Halle Berry shows that she wants to rescue her son out of the hands of the kidnappers at any cost. But that’s also the only positive thing. The way she demonstrates that it’s better not to mess with a raging mother who protects her child frantically. Furthermore, it was simply a terribly annoying film. I already mentioned that it can be exciting sometimes, but unfortunately these exciting moments were ruined by totally nonsensical events. I’ve never looked at a screen so many times with disbelief and saying “Oh come on” to myself regularly. Even my wife tried to calm me down and prepared a soothing tea for me.

Kidnap

I wouldn’t be so gentle.

Admittedly, I guess the main characters just needed to follow the script. The subject is fairly straightforward and leaves little room for improvisation. Kidnapping a child is the central theme and that’s it. The course of the story therefore is already predetermined. That’s self-evident. But the denouement being so predictable, was a bit too much. But what really pissed me of, was the behavior of Halle Berry. I’m sorry, but if my son was in that car I was chasing, I wouldn’t be driving like a stressed out grandmother. And believe me. If I had the chance, those kidnappers would see tire marks on their foreheads even weeks later. And if someone from a police force drives past you, wouldn’t it be smart to ram the alleged car of the road? Sometimes it annoys me what people do in a movie. In “Kidnap“, it was the other way around. Here I was annoyed about what she didn’t do. I’m not blaming Halle Berry. I guess she was just following the script.

Kidnap

Is “Kidnap” a movie you’d love to see?

So, you want to see a not so very intelligent film which sometimes seems exciting? A film with virtually no interaction between the different characters? And the protagonist constantly performing monotonous monologues as she pursues the perpetrators. You don’t mind if the intervention of the police forces seems so indifferent while the motorway is being recreated into a junkyard? And finally, you don’t have kids yourself? Well, that means “Kidnap” is something for you. Fortunately I didn’t bother to watch it on the big screen.

PS. One last warning. Are you a fan of action-packed, lightning-fast car chases? Well, forget about that here. It’s perhaps a mega-long chase, but this one is at snail’s pace. It looks like a road-rage-course for seniors.

My rating 4/10
Links : IMDB

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HORROR

Scream | Official Trailer

A new installment of the ‘Scream’ horror franchise will follow a woman returning to her home town to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.



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Genre:

Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Release Date:

January 14, 2022

Director:

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Cast:

Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette

Plot Summary:

A new installment of the ‘Scream’ horror franchise will follow a woman returning to her home town to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.

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The Guilty – Review | TIFF 2021

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Despite having given some of the best performances of the past 20 years, Jake Gyllenhaal has only been recognized by the Oscars once after receiving a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain. His fantastic performances in Nightcrawler, Prisoners, Southpaw and so many other films went unnoticed by the Academy but now once again Jake Gyllenhaal is back in his latest film The Guilty. Whilst he’s quite unlikely to receive any awards recognition for his most recent role, Gyllenhaal is once againproving that he really is one of the greatest actors working today.

The Guilty is an American film directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and is a remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name. The entire film takes place over the course of a single morning, and it follows Gyllenhaal’s call operator Joe Baylor in a 911 dispatch call centre. Joe receives a call from a woman named Emily who acts as if she’s talking to her young daughter and through asking her a series of yes or no questions, Joe determines that she’s been taken and is in danger.



Trapped at his desk in the call centre, Baylor must solve the issue and find the truths, rescuing Emily, all through a series of phone calls. Almost the entire film takes place from within the call centre and it’s a very interesting perspective to see in a film. I’ve not seen the original Danish film so I can’t compare the two and any differences they might have but it’s quite refreshing to see a crime thriller film confined to just one location.

Normally in a film like this the protagonist would be trying to solve the case by travelling to different places and talking to different people but instead Baylor can’t go anywhere and has to solve it all from his desk. There’s a point where he’s phoning up a police officer to go to Emily’s house to check on her kids and to search for any clues as to where she might be but instead of taking the audience to her house, we too are confined with Baylor in the call centre, feeling his frustration when he can’t get an officer to go.

The whole film is very tense and has you on the edge of your seat throughout. The direction from Fuqua is clear and he gets such a high level of suspense out of the situation. Not only with us fearing if Emily will make it out alive and if Baylor will save her in time but also through some of the subplots. Joe gets a couple of phone calls from journalists asking about his side of the story ahead of ‘tomorrow’. It’s not until near the end of the film where we find out what’s happening ‘tomorrow’ and what Baylor had done wrong and whilst perhaps it does add a bit of a dampener and it doesn’t entirely sit right with me, it creates another layer of tension and adds to the suspense.



Jake Gyllenhaal really is excellent and the standout in The Guilty. The film does have an impressive voice cast with Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough and Paul Dano all voicing characters over the phone, but Gyllenhaal really is outstanding. There are very few actors that can demand your full attention for 90 minutes like he does. The film is almost entirely just Gyllenhaal acting from his desk but you forget about this fairly quickly because of the way that Gyllenhaal takes control of every single scene. Seeing him react to both sides of the conversation over the phone rather than cutting backwards and forwards between the two ends is so enthralling to watch because of his excellent performance.

There are times when the film does begin to drag and when we do learn a bit more about the trouble Baylor got into at work, it needed to be developed a bit more to be wholly satisfying but nonetheless The Guilty is a riveting film propelled by Jake Gyllenhaal’s fantastic acting.

The Guilty premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is released on Netflix on October 1st.

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The Toll | A Twist On Classic Genres Like The Iconic Western And Thriller

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Director Ryan Andrew Hooper puts together a suburb cast in his debut feature The Toll. This Tarantino-esque darkly comic thriller is set in the Old West of Wales. Specifically my own hometown of Pembrokeshire, it was filmed here too. So I was very familiar with the parts of Pembroke shown on screen in this neo-western which is centred in and around an isolated and feeble old toll booth. 

This non-linear narrative follows Michael Smiley’s character, a nameless Toll Booth operator living a simply boring pointless life. However his dark past soon catches up to him and its revealed that his life is not as simple, boring or pointless as we thought. his business may not even be entirely legal. He begins to operate and control events around him whilst a local group of people who look out for him end up doing some of his dirty work. Toll Booth does all the networking without even leaving his dull confine. 

Smiley brings an easy weariness to Toll Booth. The character intentionally mysterious, even though we don’t know the characters backstory and why he was on the run for all those years. Smiley still manages to make his character somewhat relatable. 

Iwan Rheon as Dom was absolutely fantastic and Paul Kaye who played Cliff had some great moments. However The Toll has a strong female lead, Annes Elwy who truly makes The Toll shift genres from thriller to an emotional story that allows the audience to get to know her a bit more, which added much needed emotion. 

The film also features many other eccentric characters such as Elvis personator and her mute partner played by Evelyn Mok and Darren Evans. 

Matt Redd’s screenplay truly forms an integral part of the experience, he creates many thrilling and hilarious encounters which sometimes feel reminiscent of Taika Waititi. The film mixes tension and black humour. Ryan Andrew Hopper’s direction truly makes the west wales landscape spectacular as he transports the western from the familiar wild west in America and brings it to the Pembrokeshire coast, the film all comes together with breathtaking cinematography from Adrian Peckitt. 

Overall The Toll rethinks and manages to put a twist on classic genres like the iconic western and thriller. And I look forward to seeing what Ryan Andrew Hooper does next.

The Toll is in cinemas and on premium digital from 27 August from Signature Entertainment.

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