Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Photo courtesy of Alchemy

“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” (2015)

A group of friends are trying to resurrect their construction company in the wake of the bad economy in Amsterdam. Cor Van Hout (Jim Sturgess) is the ringleader of the group. Most of the men have spent some time behind bars, but Cor and Willem (Sam Worthington) are the most hardened of the group, and they tend to butt heads over the direction of the group. Cor has a baby on the way which increases the pressure on him to find a way to make some money. The other three guys (Ryan Kwanten, Mark Van Eeuwen, and Thomas Cocquerel) will pretty much follow the lead of Cor and Williem, not giving up much resistance to the idea of an extra beer at the pub or thoughts on making a quick buck. Inspired by his father’s blind allegiance to the wealthiest man in town, Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), Willem comes up with an idea to kidnap the heir to the billion-dollar beer fortune. Cor takes his guys on a boat ride down the river at night to pitch the kidnapping, and while it takes a little arm twisting, they all agree that it can work.

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Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Photo courtesy of Alchemy

The gang decides that if they are going to get away with the kidnapping, the police must suspect that the people who do the kidnapping are one of the highly organized and well financed terrorist organizations. They attempt to rob a bank to get their “seed” money, and while things don’t go completely by the book, they are successful, allowing the gang to prepare properly for the big day. They plan extensively, building some sound proof cells in an isolated warehouse. They map Mr. Heineken’s every move, knowing exactly what his daily routine is. Now the planning stages are over, and they must do the deed. The question is, will they be successful in the kidnapping and will it be their big break or their downfall?

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Photo courtesy of Alchemy

Based on the true story, the film follows the men as they try to accomplish the feat without getting stopped or captured. When the film works, it’s because of the two main leads, Worthington and Sturgess and their chemistry together. Director Daniel Alfredson gets the two actors to play off each other extremely well, and their connection makes the film move at times. Anthony Hopkins also helps a great deal to keep the film interesting, bearing a bit of brashness and bravado to the role of Freddy Heineken. He plays him as a pompous soul that feels that the world will surely rise up and rescue him. Unfortunately, the rest of the main cast doesn’t bring a lot to the film. I would have liked to see more of the home life of the rest of the cast. Show us why they felt forced to commit this crime and how big a sacrifice would it be if they had to leave their families if things went bad.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Photo courtesy of Alchemy

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The best scene in the film is the bank heist. There is a wonderful chase sequence through the streets of Amsterdam that is fun to watch as the bank robbers are pursued through the streets with what looks like no escape possible. The rest of the film is based on the tension over whether the ransom will be paid, but that tension never builds, making the rest of the movie seem rather flat. The audience doesn’t get what should have been an overwhelming feeling of paranoia, as pressure mounts on the group with the possible failure of their efforts. I never really felt that the gang would go through with the idea that if the ransom wasn’t played, they would kill the kidnaped Mr. Heineken. I believe this is the fault of scriptwriter, William Brookfield, whose script doesn’t make the men seem all that threatening. There is a scene early on in the film where the group try to evict a group of squatters from a building they own. The incident is played as comic relief, making the men come off as just a bunch of guys from a local pub that are doing a weekend get together.  We never get the idea that the men were capable of more than just basic violence, that the violence could escalate to killing. Apparently, they were more than that in real life as one of the men in the post-credits is described as becoming the “Godfather of crime in Amsterdam.”

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Photo courtesy of Alchemy

Ultimately, “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” never builds off its early successes and becomes a film filled with scenes that don’t quite build. It’s a film that makes the audience not care if the kidnapping is ever a success or not, and that’s a shame for such an interesting historical story.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee

My movie rating system from Best to Worst:  1). I Would Pay to See it Again  2). Full Price  3). Bargain Matinee  4). Cable  5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again

“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” is playing exclusively in Atlanta at Plaza Theatre

“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” Website

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