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Kidnapping Mr Heineken

Year: 2015
Production Co: Informant Europe SPRL
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writer: William Brookfield/Peter R de Vries
Cast: Jim Sturges, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony Hopkins

It's a really interesting historical artefact in this 'we don't negotiate with terrorists' day and age to see that a crime like kidnapping really does pay, as it did during the true case this film is based on.

It's early 1980s Amsterdam and pals Willem (Sam Worthington), Cor (Jim Sturgess), Frans (Mark van Eeuwen), Martin (Thomas Cocquerel) and Jan (Ryan Kwanten) are hard up after their construction business has gone sour.

They hatch a scheme almost too ridiculous to work, but after deciding to take it seriously and plan every moment down to the tiniest detail, they manage to kidnap patriarch of the Dutch beer empire Alfred Heineken (Anthony Hopkins) from outside his office.

Having stashed Heineken and his driver in two soundproof rooms at their back of their workshop, the guys start to wait out the cops. Eventually the ransom (35 million guilders) was paid, the largest ever for an individual to this day, but the cracks have started to show long before, the gang by no means career criminals or cold-blooded killers.

And post-kidnapping life is no easier, with the group splintering, everyone worried everyone else is going to rat them out and tensions rising as the cops close in.

The thrills and action are good throughout the movie, and even though Anthony Hopkins isn't given much to do, he's an effective foil for the younger men, slowly and smartly getting inside their heads to foment the disagreements he can already sense among them.

The one downfall of the film that's too hard to ignore is in letting everyone involved speak in their natural accents. Audiences will gladly forgive a low budget thriller that couldn't afford to invest in extensive vocal training for its leads if the story is engaging, but Kidnapping Mr Heineken needed a better device to explain the mishmash of voices.

Cocquerel and van Eeuwen's European accents, Sturgess' cockney London brogue and Kwanten and Worthington's thick Strine all crash together, making you wonder for half the film whether they're all tourists or immigrants and why it's relevant to the story.

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