Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (also known as Kidnapping Mr. Heineken) tells the true story of the 1983 kidnapping of the the beer mogul. Daniel Alfredson’s film has a strong cast (Anthony Hopkins, Sam Worthington, Jim Sturges) and a keen concept but it lacks the requisite fizz to make it pop on screen.
This international production never quite gets the balance right. Alfredson’s film feels like it wants to be a heavy European drama and a slick Hollywood thriller but it falls somewhere in the middle and that middle ground means that it never finds the right energy. Clocking in at just 90 minutes, there’s too much plot for it to fit into the running time and that makes everything feel a bit underserved. Anthony Hopkins in particular gets the short shrift, spending most of the time chained in a room. He may have been able to transcend these restrictions in The Silence Of The Lambs but the material here just isn’t strong enough.
Sam Worthington and Jim Sturges fare much better with what they’re given, but again their characters are undercooked. The whole movie has the high-octane energy of an extended montage and because of this you never feel that the movie has settled into its narrative. The pulsating score by Clay Duncan and Lucas Vidal doesn’t help matters. It may raise the energy but it never lets the froth settle.
Daniel Alfredson helmed the two Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sequels (The Girl Who Played With Fire and the Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest). These show that he’s a capable director who knows how to direct tension and drama. He does the same with Kidnapping Freddy Heineken but there’s surely a better edit of this film hidden away in some producer’s office. It’s as if Alfredson’s film was cut down to within an inch of its life and while the story may remain, you get the feeling that much of what would have made it special has been lost on its way to the screen.
Kidnapping Freddy Heineken isn’t a bad movie but it’s frustrating to know that the director and cast could have delivered a final product that’s much more deserving of their talents.