Director: Daniel Alfredson Starring: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington & Ryan Kwanten Synopsis: The inside story of the planning, execution, rousing aftermath and ultimate downfall of the kidnappers of beer tycoon Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual Rating: 15 Run time: 85 minutes Release date: 8 June (DVD)
I imagine when the creators of Kidnapping Freddy Heineken were busy making the film, that they thought they had something really good on their hands. A sturdy cast, led by the ever reliable Anthony Hopkins, are brought together to tell the true story of five ordinary men who somehow pulled of one of the decades biggest crimes. Their kidnapping of Mr. Heineken, the beer magnate, is likely more thrilling on paper than it is on celluloid and, despite the casts efforts, only comes across as a loud, unfulfilling mess.
It’s hard to imagine making a true story, that sounds like a Hollywood thriller, comes across as nothing more than a b-movie romp that would get buried in the bargain bin of your local supermarket. But unfortunately, that is very much the case here. Despite the films potential, you never get the feeling that anyone is putting their all into this film. Director, Daniel Alfredson seems to have thrown a lot into the mix here, and cannot focus on anyone point long enough to make this satisfying viewing.
The lead actors are all over the place, both in their accents and their performances. Jim Sturges, Sam Worthington & Ryan Kwanten are a loud and bickering bunch, who never quite know when to reign things in, and their Australian/English accents completely throw you when they are meant to be, in fact, Dutch. Antony Hopkins is the one dependable actor here, and easily outperforms the rest of the cast, even though his role is restricted to spending most of the film in a box room cell.
While the details of this true story are no doubt fascinating, the majority of the film fails to convey the sense of adventure and risk that these five Dutchmen undertook. Bickering, fighting, and lots of shouting take up most of the films duration. While the more exciting aspects, such as the bank robbery and the actual kidnapping of Mr. Heineken, fail to excite in the ways that they should. There is a temptation to think that the film, like the story it’s based upon, was made purely for financial reasons, a feeling that is most keenly felt through the actors laziness to commit to their roles.
Although one can sympathise with them, as they have little to work with. The script is dull, while the direction is flat and lifeless, again hinting at a film that was maybe made for all the wrong reasons.
In summary: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is fantastic on paper, but this true life tale is a monotonous exercise in b-movie storytelling. A shame.