Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Film Review: Kidnapper (2010)

Kidnapper (Review)
Singapore/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...an adrenaline rush many blockbuster films can't offer nowadays."

Ah Huat (Christopher Lee), a taxi driver, is a working class father with a close-knit relationship with his son. One day, his son is mistaken for the son of a wealthy, rich man and he is subsequently kidnapped...
 
Kidnapper continues as Ah Huat races to save his son. The kidnapper doesn't care about his mistake, and he demands $1 million from Ah Huat within 36 hours. Everyday he doesn't deliver the money, the kidnapper will send Ah Huat a bottle of his son's blood. The lengths Ah Huat goes to make the money is powerful -- it really shows his love for his son. But, it's not enough, and the plot thickens when an unexpected third party enters the dilemma. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge, although many are plot contrivances, and it offers plenty of surprises. The ending of the film is bittersweet -- like many foreign thrillers, Kidnapper doesn't sugarcoat its subject.

Kidnapper is a dark, ferociously paced thriller. It goes from 0 to 60 almost immediately, and continues to move at this pace up to the end. This is one of those thrillers that just doesn't lose its momentum. It's a dark film about a dark subject, and it really creates some genuine emotion, especially for parents. It's a thrill ride, but not exactly a happy amusement park ride. In other words, I enjoyed the plot, I enjoyed the dark atmosphere, as well -- it didn't sugarcoat the subject, it felt real. However, there are many plot contrivances -- you know, those oh so convenient moments that make you roll your eyes. They make for some thrilling and emotional moments, but they're clearly lazily written. Also, there's this divorce subplot, which adds very little to the film, and could've been developed much better, Otherwise, if you can get past that, you're in for an adrenaline rush many blockbuster films can't offer nowadays.

Christopher Lee delivers a fantastic performance -- you see him as a genuine, caring father and as a frustrated, angry father, but a very real father, in any case. The rest of the case is great, including the child stars. The music fits the genre -- nothing particularly outstanding, but it helped build the mood and get the heart pumping. The film is also shot competently. Director Kelvin Tong builds a tense and suspenseful thriller with such a simple brilliance; no need for guns, explosions, or epic car chases, just genuine suspense and tension through plot and performances.

Overall, Kidnapper is a thrilling kidnapping film. One of the best simple adrenaline rushes I've had in a while, and one memorable experience. It's clearly not without flaws, though, like the plot contrivances and one useless subplot, but it's entertaining, nonetheless.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, including violence towards children.

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