Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 95 minutes.
OK for children.
This is based on the true story of the kidnapping of Dutch brewmaster
billionaire Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins) in 1983. When Hollywood
says that a film is “based on” something, you can generally take facts
and accuracy directly to the trash bin. However, in this instance
award-winning crime journalist Peter DeVries wrote an exhaustively
researched, best-selling book of the kidnappers with whom he spent a lot
of time and gained their trust. So he refused to option the book to
anyone unless he could be assured that what happened would be presented
on film as accurately as possible.
Actor Mark Van Eewen, who actually plays one of the kidnappers, Frans
Meijer, in the movie won the trust of DeVries after spending several
days with him and was awarded the option on the book. DeVries wanted to
be assured that they would tell the actual story without embellishment.
So what you see is apparently pretty close to the truth. For a movie
that doesn’t have a lot of action in it director Daniel Alfredson (who
directed the two fine Swedish films about the girl with the Dragon
Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked
the Hornet’s Nest), has made a film that has relatively good pace
considering that the actual kidnapping occurs in the first half-hour and
the rest of the film tells how the kidnappers, none of whom was a
criminal before participating in this enterprise, waited for a
resolution to what they had done.
Hopkins doesn’t appear in that many scenes, but he gives a good
performance, as do all the kidnappers including Jim Sturgess and Sam
Worthington. Also giving a performance worth mentioning is Jemina West,
who plays the wife of one of the kidnappers. This is really more
educational than entertaining because I really wasn't aware of it, so
I'm glad I saw it.