Movie, Reviews

“Kidnap” Never Underestimate a Mother’s Love

Turning the tables on a kidnapper can be a tough proposition even for the most experienced FBI men, but as the film Kidnap shows, do not underestimate a woman obsessed. It’s one of the most terrifying films this year and Halle Barry makes the movie work from the moment you see her on screen until the brutal finale. Wow!

Recently divorced Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) has been taking care of her 6-year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa), even bringing him to her work at a local diner. On this one day after completing her shift she decides to fulfill a promise of taking Frankie to a popular park. The boy has been instructed not to wonder far away. In fact he needs to respond often to their key words “Marco/Polo” so she knows he’s nearby.

Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) with her 6-year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa) in KIDNAP

The day has gone without a hitch until Karla gets a phone call from a lawyer and she walks further away so Frankie cannot hear. When she walks back to the park bench where she was sitting and calls out “Marco” there’s no response. Startled she starts to look for the boy, finally seeing him being dragged into a parked car.

Karla (Halle Barry) takes on the abductors in KIDNAP

So begins one of the most harrowing chases on film as Karla tries to track down the abductors. Director Luis Prieto knows how to keep his audience on the edge of their seats as he puts Halle Barry on a non-stop pursuit to retrieve her son. He introduces terror immediately, raising the level higher as each scene progresses. Expect the unexpected too, as from out of nowhere he throws in obstacles and twists that seem insurmountable.

Karla (Halle Barry) tries to make a phone call in KIDNAP

It’s hard to call it a fun roller coaster ride as the subject matter has been a constant enigma with several kids being abducted each year. But, what this movie reveals is the obsession by one mother to roll the dice and chase down the kidnappers herself. Prieto shows the determination, frustration, fear, bravery, cunning and exasperation through Halle Barry’s amazing performance. Before you know it you’ll be hooked white knuckling the arms of the movie theater seat and feeling the fire of Karla as she attempts the “impossible”.

Halle Barry has been performing as an actress since the late 1980’s, but you wouldn’t know it as she looks as young and as beautiful as when she started. I would love to know the secret to retaining her beauty and her ability to entertain.

Halle Barry as Karla gets physical in KIDNAP

Here she’s a dynamo as Karla, perfectly fit for the part and exceedingly vibrant giving the impression of a person obsessed. She will even wreak havoc, if need be, on anyone in her way to save hers son. Totally in control of her character, Halle needs to be considered for a possible Oscar nod, she’s that good here. Is this her best roll? Not by any means especially with outstanding performances in Swordfish and Monster’s Ball (Best Actress Oscar Winner), but her ability to command the screen in this one surly stands out.

That said, as far as the production as a whole it has a few flaws. The audience should be as exhausted as my mind was right up until the end. Even though that’s a good thing, the film’s finale doesn’t have the best resolve considering all the mayhem and chaos Karla leaves in her wake.

Kidnap has been rated R by the MPAA for violence and peril. The film does contain some very extreme violence and also some rude language. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have altercations that could frighten youngsters.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An edge of your seat thriller.

Additional Film Information:
Cast:  Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn, Lew Temple 
Directed by: Luis Prieto
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: R contains violence, language, peril
Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.
Release Date: August 4, 2017
Distributed by: Avrion Pictures

The comments within this review are the critic’s expressed opinions.

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 11 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com