There is much left to the imagination in Kidnapping Mr. Heineken, a film that struggles to live up to the fascinating true crime story from which its based. This is not a case where the viewer is content being curious, instead often asking questions and wanting more.
Set in the Amsterdam, this film by Daniel Alfredson follows the fateful events of November 1983, where a group of buddies try to make it rich by kidnapping the wealthiest man in the country, the proprietor of the Dutch beer giant that bears his name, and holding him for ransom.
What seems initially shambolic and madcap turns towards the serious, as a group of buddies struggle to get by, arguing with bankers, police officers, and those desperate and determined. Never do we get the impression that these hard-luck, hopeful felons aren’t totally in over their heads. Beyond that, impressions of these gentleman are completely lacking; we should be invested in them, not simply observing with indifference.
That’s because Heineken is overwhelmed by trying to develop this band of misfits, figuring out whether we are rooting for them or their captor, stressing tension, and incorporating action.
None of these components are fully realized, but all are attempted, making for an interesting yet deflating film watching experience. All, however, is buoyed by its impressive cast, with Sam Worthington and Jim Sturgess playing the most notable of the bunch. They inherently likable, which goes a long way in keeping the film afloat.
Of course, Anthony Hopkins helps greatly as well, playing the titular CEO, a man of great practicality and unflappable nerve. Hopkins does indeed take over in each and other scene, especially those sitting in a cell talking through the walls to his driver, Ab Dodere, who was also taken at the time.
Perhaps it’s too complex a story. Lacking a sense of time,(the plan was years in the making, the kidnapping lasted weeks, and still years for a resolution), as well as tangible peril and any sense of a prevailing protagonist, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken isn’t as good as it should, but still serves as an interesting primer for a story the requires more investigation and a better translation to the screen.
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken will have a simultaneous release in theaters and VOD on March 6
In theatre markets: Toronto, Montreal.
VOD: Canada wide
You can watch the trailer below