Kidnapping Mr Heineken

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Kidnapping Mr Heineken

The year is 1983, the place is the Netherlands, and a group of friends (including Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten and Jim Sturgess) are drowning in debts from their failing construction company. With all legal fund-raising avenues (including physically tossing squatters out of their building) exhausted and figuring that the only way they can get away with a kidnapping is if the police think it’s been committed by a serious organisation, they turn to crime and aim big: Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), CEO of brewing company Heineken.
This real-life story starts out strong, but suffers from a lack of tension once Heineken’s been napped and locked away in the back of a shed. The early matter-of-fact preparations by the group are interesting in a procedural way, while the eventual problems with their scheme and the collapse of the group into warring factions finally brings some much-needed twists and turns to the story.
Despite Hopkins’ strong performance (Heineken is a master manipulator even when he’s chained to a wall) the middle stretch drags on and on. The actors’ use of their natural accents can be distracting (presumably they’d be dubbed in Europe), but they’re all convincing (especially Worthington) as decent, likeable guys. Which is a bit of a problem too, as we never get much of a sense as to what motivated them past financial desperation – and as a couple of them ended up as major organised crime figures once all this was over, this lack of insight into their characters seems a serious oversight.