Netflix UK film review: Kidnap
Crunchy car chases8
Halle Berry’s “determined parent” face8
Threat of the antagonists5
Ian Loring | On 18, Oct 2017
Director: Luis Prieto
Cast: Halle Berry, Lew Temple, Jason George
Watch Kidnap online in the UK: Netflix UK
A curious trend that seems to have started recently is seeing films theatrically released in the US come straight to Netflix in the UK. Over the summer, The Circle didn’t get UK cinema distribution and found itself on the platform. Now, we see Kidnap, a Halle Berry thriller that came out 2 months ago Stateside (and made a decent enough $30 million) debut on Netflix in the UK.
The actual kidnap of the title is an intense affair and one that will likely raise the hairs on any parent’s arms. Director Luis Prieto handles the situation well, magnifying Berry’s panic nicely and leading to a car chase that feels bizarrely accurate – Berry looks terrified throughout and the stop-start nature of the sequence lends a sense that this is happening in the real world.
This chase takes up a good half hour or so, with the odd gap to catch a breather, and it’s surprising to see this handled so well, with only some lingering shots of the cars following each other feeling like the runtime is being stretched. Kidnap is less impressive both before and after this section. The initial set-up features an introduction to Berry’s mother that features some characters you expect to show up later but never do; the opening feels rather isolated, having little bearing on the rest of the story.
As the pursuit of her child continues on, Prieto has to engage in some rather more staid plotting, as the people behind the kidnapping are revealed to be some stereotypes who offer bizarrely little in threat, the closer encounters feeling oddly one-sided and making the outcome feel like nothing more than a matter of time.
There is a somewhat unique joy to be had in watching a film with such a narrow focus: Kidnap is a one-idea film that manages not to outstay its 91 minutes. It is an experience that offers basic pleasures, but they work for the most part, and fits the “probably wouldn’t go see it in the cinema, would happily watch it on Netflix” bill perfectly.
Kidnap is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.