Blu-ray Review: Kidnap (2017)

By , Contributor
Though it didn't set any box office fires during it's late-summer theatrical run, nor did it win over the majority of critics, the intense Kidnap is a crackerjack thriller. Starring Halle Berry as a soon-to-be-divorced mom embroiled in a custody battle, it's nothing that'll stick with viewers for years to come—but for 82 minutes (yes, that's including credits) it delivers non-stop entertainment.

Recalling (though not equaling) similar genre classics of the past like Steven Spielberg's Dual (1971) and Jonathan Mostow's Breakdown (1997), director Luis Prieto keeps the tension level high. The movie promises next to nothing, which is why it ultimately works so well as a purely visceral experience. Karla (Berry) takes her sights off her child Frankie (Sage Correa) for a few minutes to take a phone call while at a crowded fairground. When her attention returns to Frankie, the boy is nowhere to be seen. Panic immediately ensues—and never legs for the duration of the lightning-paced thriller.

Karla manages to glimpse Frankie being hustled into a car in the fair's parking lot. She takes off after it in pursuit. Things get borderline ridiculous as a general lack of intervention (by the public or law enforcement) throughout what amounts to a protracted car chase stretches credibility. But Knate Lee's screenplay makes no attempt at maintaining rigorous realism. This is escapism at its purest—no food for thought, no philosophical pretenses. Just a kinetic visual style and a strongly convincing performance by Halle Berry as a woman who'll stop at nothing to rescue her baby. The disturbing climax ventures near horror territory, but Prieto never takes things over the top.

Excellent Blu-ray presentation by Universal here, with Flavio Martinez Labiano's meat'n'potatoes cinematography looking clearly defined. The pulse-goosing score by Federico Jusid (as well as some bone-crushing car crashes) sound nice and powerful in the DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix. There's also a standard DVD and Digital HD copy included. The only failing is the near-total lack of special features—there's a three-minute promo featurette, "A Look Inside Kidnap," and nothing else.

No one would ever mistake Kidnap for awards season fare. And some may object to the use of an abducted child as a plot device for a popcorn thriller. But for those seeking a lo-cal thrill ride and absolutely nothing more, Kidnap is the ticket.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is film and music. His new jazz album Good Merlin is now available.

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