In 1983, Alfred ‘Freddy’ Heineken was kidnapped. The abduction of this prominent billionaire, the grandson of Gerard Adriaan Heineken (the founder of the Heineken beer company), resulted in the paying of the largest ever ransom at the time (35 million Dutch guilders, or about US$50 million today).


Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is based on the true crime book by journalist Peter R. de Vries.Both the book and film go into explicit detail about the abduction of the billionaire and his chauffeur, Ab Doderer (David Dencik).


The film is directed by Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played With Fire)and is the second retelling of these events after the Dutch-language film, De Heineken Ontvoering. In Kidnapping Mr. Henieken, Anthony Hopkins stars as Heineken, shining while playing masterful power games (sound familiar?) with the five amateur kidnappers.


The criminals include the group’s mastermind, Cor van Hout(Across The Universe’s Jim Sturgess) and his underlings (Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Thomas Cocquerel and Mark van Eeuwen). The actors each put in decent enough performances (if you can forgive Australian accents being spoken by Dutch crooks).


But it is the execution of the film that ultimately lets it down. Shades of grey and subtle hues are frequently used, and when combined with long, dialogue-heavy scenes that mostly take place indoors, this takes a lot of the suspense out of the thriller. Events that could have been tense and gripping feel rather slow and flat.


Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is based on an interesting true story: the 21 days the beer mogul was held captive. It also shows the aftermath, in which some of the criminals were on the run from the law. But ultimately it depicts a perfect crime that isn’t so perfect, and is at best a bland drama.


Originally published on 11 March 2015 at the following website:

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