On 9th November 1983, Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, the President of beer power company Heineken, was kidnapped by a group of five young criminals and held for a ransom of 35 million Dutch guilders. These events are retold in the true crime film – Kidnapping Freddy Heineken.
This is the second time that this story has been adapted for film, the first being released in 2011, starring Rutger Hauer and the more recent attempt by Director Daniel Alfredson. I haven’t seen the first but came across the DVD for the latest offering and found the story very intriguing, with a good cast and the always impressive Anthony Hopkins as the title character promising enough to warrant a viewing.
As told in my first paragraph there were a group of young men who after experiencing frustration to get a business loan decide to kidnap the beer tycoon Heineken (Anthony Hopkins) and demand the largest ransom ever paid for his release. Alfredson breaks his film up into three acts to give us the introduction to these Dutch criminals, Heinekens 21 days as their captive and then the days following his release pursuing the kidnappers by the authorities.
Now as I said before there is a great story here for Alfredson to use to create a hair-raising movie, made all the more incredible by the fact that it is all based on actual events. The Swedish director however falls flat of the mark and what you get instead is a lackluster film, flawed by a poor script and sluggish pacing.
By the time you get to the actual event of the kidnapping you will mostly have lost interest in the movies main characters and the plight they put themselves in, and It felt like I just went on with the movie to find out the outcome and get to the part of the movie where you get that informative and interesting fact section of what fate found our anti heroes and where they are now.
It’s a pity too because the group of men cast to play the kidnappers, made up of Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington and Ryan Kwanten have the capabilities to put together solid performances but given the material they had with this movie never really deliver and their performances fall flat. Hopkins is great and delivers a strong, cold and decisive portrayal of Heineken. For the most part he seems to be more in control of the situation than the kidnappers themselves.
Overall Kidnapping Freddy Heineken lacks tension and thrills that this type of movie relies upon to make it truly stand out. I wouldn’t rush off to watch it immediately but if you so stumble across the movie by chance it would be a decent time killer.
Last Updated: February 29, 2016