Bizarrely, this Dutch film tries desperately to wedge true events into the shape of an American thriller, but the action sequences are so lacklustre that a fascinating story ends up feeling dull and pointless. It's even been rewritten in English, using a random range of British, Australian and European accents. So while the plot manages to just about hold the interest, the film drags out the story and struggles to find any point of emotional resonance.
This is about the largest ransom ever paid, in 1982 Amsterdam. Faced with the collapse of their construction company, Cor, Willem, Jan and Frans (Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten and Mark van Eeuwen) make a desperate decision to risk everything by kidnapping the billionaire head of the Heineken beer empire, Freddy (Anthony Hopkins), demanding a $60 million ransom. They manage to get him into their hideout, but are frustrated as the days drag into weeks while the police fret about the case, believing that they are dealing with a major international crime ring. The question is whether these amateurs can maintain their cool and pull this off.
Further wrinkles are supplied by the fact that Cor is expecting a baby with his girlfriend (Jemima West), who happens to be Willem's sister. This creates an intriguing dynamic between the two men, so the relationship depicted by Sturgess and Worthington is by far the most compelling thing about the film. Meanwhile, Hopkins does his best to walk off with the movie in a superbly relaxed turn as a cocky, demanding victim who's more concerned about his also-abducted chauffeur (David Dencik) than himself. All of these elements have the potential to add tension and intrigue to the movie, but British writer William Brookfield and Swedish director Daniel Alfredson never bother to properly deepen most of the characters or situations, while continually watering things down with under-powered chase sequences.
Continue reading: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken Review
Alfred Henry "Freddy" Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), head of the Heineken International brewing company, was worth billions. When a group of opportunistic friends land on a simple 5-day get-rich-quick scheme, it involves kidnapping Mr. Heineken and collection a 60 million dollar payday. After months of planning and preparation for the kidnapping, they spring into action - perfectly catching and whisking away Heineken in Amsterdam and taking him to their secure, secret hideout. But here, things start to go wrong. Unable to get the ransom demands, the group discover that they are being toyed with by Heineken, as he plays them at their own game.
Continue: Kidnapping Mr. Heineken Trailer
When reclusive former football coach, Teddy Raymond (Tom Berenger) releases a self-help book entitled 'Reach Me' it is picked up by millions of people. Collette (Kyra Sedgwick) is a former inmate who reads the book and uses it to try to start her life anew. Hip hop star E-Ruption (Cornell 'Nelly' Haynes) finds that the book has completely reinvigorated his personal image. Wolfie (Thomas Jane), a gun-slinging policeman uses it to justify his actions in the face of right and wrong. Dominic (David O'Hare) is a career thief who annoys his partner by preaching the book, until deciding that he no longer wants to take part in this life of crime. And then there's Roger (Kevin Connolly) , a journalist who has been tasked with finding the mysterious Teddy Raymond by his editor Gerald (Sylvester Stallone). In the end, it turns out the actions of one man have the power to unite many.
Continue: Reach Me Trailer
This tightly wound drama evokes a strikingly inventive sense of the Wild West in the Australian Outback. Since filmmaker Ivan Sen refuses to crank up even a hint of suspense, he cleverly subverts the usual cliches, refusing to indulge in action-movie exaggeration. But this leaves the film feeling very sleepy, depending on audiences to connect with the central character's internal voyage rather than anything that happens on-screen.
The focus is on Jay (Aaron Pederson), a beefy police detective who moves back home to rural Queensland after several years as a cop in the big city. He's a local boy in this dusty Outback town, but now he's also considered an outsider. His first case involves the murder of a young Aboriginal girl who seems to have been part of a drugs and prostitution ring. This sparks an extra level of concern for Jay because his estranged teen daughter knew the victim. And as Jay digs into the case, he begins to understand that there's a dark criminal element woven right into the fabric of the community. It's so endemic that the last policeman who tried to investigate it turned up dead.
This is an exploration of the dark layers of bigotry and evil that worm their way into any group of people, often far beneath the seemingly peaceful surface. Intriguingly, the film isn't actually about the murder; it's about Jay's journey to discover his own personal history, how his past connects with a present he can barely bring himself to imagine. Pederson is a magnetic presence at the centre of the story as a man dealing with rather a lot of abuse while trying to help solve a nasty situation and understand his own place in this world. Around him the supporting cast add colour to each scene, with notable contributions from the superb Hugo Weaving, Aussie veteran Jack Thompson and True Blood's Ryan Kwanten.
Continue reading: Mystery Road Review
Congratulations "True Blood" fans, this is the one you were waiting for.
At this point in True Blood history, the show has done pretty much every TV cliché, and the plot has gone out the window some time ago. Last night, however, True Blood dared venture where it has scarcely ventured before – the same-sex hookup. Well, sort of. Spoilers ahead – big ones.
Ana Paquin is pretty great, but the writers need more to keep viewers interested.
When the episode started with a shot of Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) fans knew something was off. After all, the last time we saw Eric, he was being incinerated by the Arctic sunrise (longtime fans are great at suspending disbelief.)
Continue reading: "True Blood" Substitutes Fakeout For Actual Plot Development [Recap]
Sara Canning and Ryan Kwanten - Celebrities attend 2014 G'DAY USA Los Angeles Black Tie Gala to honor Australians Geoffrey Rush, Jacki Weaver and chef Curtis Stone at JW Marriot at LA Live. - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 11th January 2014