12th Nov2014

‘Kidnapped’ DVD Review (aka Secuestrados)

by Nicky Johnson

Stars: Fernando Cayo, Manuela Vellés, Ana Wagener, Guillermo Barrientos, Dritan Biba, Martijn Kuiper, Xoel Yáñez, Luis Iglesia | Written by Miguel Ángel Vivas, Javier García | Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas

kidnapped-cast

This Spanish film is the figurative definition of ‘thriller’ (I get told off by my housemate for misuse of literality). Jaime (Fernando Cayo) has just moved to an a beautiful new house with his wife, Marta (Ana Wagener), and daughter, Isa (Manuela Vellés) and already arguments are starting as Isa wants to skip the families first meal together in her new home to meet her boyfriend. None of that matters, however, as the house is broken into that night be three masked men. The leader takes down the card details of each of them and takes Jaime on a drive to get money out while Marta and Isa are left with the other two; one of them a bit crazy and the other very skittish. Trouble breaks out at home as Jaime is left alone with the leader.

As always with foreign films I watched with subtitles on, because dubbing is almost always awful. As always with subtitled films, it takes nothing away from the experience and I was on edge as soon as the assailants broke in. While the crazy one (they never used names so it’s really hard to differentiate) and the boyfriend César were both a bit over the top, the acting throughout was genuine to the point where it felt I was watching actual events unfold. The basic cookie cutter story meant that the acting and writing were the key to making this a great film, and they did their job brilliantly.

The visuals and editing were on point as well. My favourite part about the whole film was the use of split screen to show what was going on in the two different locations and the vast contrast in the atmosphere; the quiet tension between Jaime and his minder, and the chaos and screaming back at the home. The way the split screen came together as Jaime and Isa found each other was fantastic and I was momentarily taken out of the action just to appreciate how well edited it was.

It wasn’t just tense either. The fight scenes were grisly and brutal, and the ending just violent capped off with a brilliant contrast in the credits theme. My one gripe is that the pre-title screen scene seem to be completely disconnected from the rest of the film with the exception of the use of a plastic bag around the man’s head but that could just be me missing something due to this pain in the ass chest infection. Either way, it doesn’t detract much from the film. Actually, I must be going soft, because I’m giving this top marks.

***** 5/5

Kidnapped, aka Secuestrados, is out now on DVD from Icon Home Entertainment.

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