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Title: Kidnapping of Mr. Heineken

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :1star:

HTS Overall Score:61

Everyone knows the name Heineken. If not for the man who owns the name, then for the beer that he created. Alfred Heineken created a legendary fortune out of selling fermented grains and hops to the masses and still has an enormous foothold in that market. Back in 1983 he was actually kidnapped and ransomed for the most money that had ever been paid out at the time for suck a kidnapping. A gigantic 35 million dollars was paid out only to have the kidnappers turned in by an anonymous tip (the origination of which is unknown to this day). I would have immediately thought that the kidnapping of Freddy Heineken would make for a thrilling crime caper, and it has in the form of another movie starring Rutger Hauer, but this retelling of the old story tends to be a bit flat and stale.

The year is 1983 and there is a large recession happening in Europe. Men’s lives are being ruined and people are desperate. So desperate that 5 men in their early 20’s get it in their heads that they should kidnap Alfred Heineken and ransom him back for $35 million. Meticulously planning their heist, they create a hidden sound proofed shed, stalk their prey and miraculously pull it off. For men of no criminal background, they managed to stump the police and make it seem as if a group of professionals had pulled it off. It seems that these 5 young men were going to become very rich. However, life threw them a curveball when the Heineken Corporation stalled on paying the ransom. This gave the police long enough time to start putting out feelers and sooner or later zero in on the boys. Even when the money does come in, it’s too late and the police are hot on their tails. Breaking up after the split, the criminals separate and get caught one by one. Two of them, Cor Vann Hout (Jim Sturgess) and Willem Holleeder (Sam Worthington) escape the country, but are tracked down nearly a decade later and brought back to pay for their crimes.

For being such a high profile criminal kidnapping of such a well-known figurehead, I’m surprised how little I knew of the caper. I mean, it’s not like a kidnapping in Amsterdam is really popular in the U.S., but Heineken is a name known worldwide! There has been several books written on the subject and a movie done some years ago starring the famed Rutger Hauer, but this is the first time I’ve been able to experience a dramatization of the crime. It’s interesting to watch and read about the little intricacies that went on with the crime and the types of people involved. All 5 men were basically fairly innocuous people until they pulled off a giant heist, and thanks to an anonymous tip were left forever changed. Some went to live most of the rest of their lives in prison, while Cor and Willem went on to get out and become the godfather’s of Netherland’s criminal underworld. Interestingly enough, even though the men were caught and spent years in prison, very little of the ransom money was actually recovered, making it rather clear that even though their lives were changed, there is a good chance that they actually got away with it in the end.

The film itself is rather bland and uninspired. It’s not a bad movie, but it just “exists”. The plot is engaging enough and the actors do a decent job, but there is no real traction gained and the movie just coasts on for the ride. It’s like oatmeal. It’s not a great breakfast cereal, but it’s far from offensive either, and most people will just eat it without feeling as if they’ve tasted anything, good or bad. The screenplay does the job, but fails to capture the audience and he actors seem like they’re just in it for the payday. Even Anthony Hopkins looks like he’s asleep at the wheel (but recently he’s looked like that in all of his movies). I had a decent time, but really feel no need to give it a second watch.


Rated R for language throughout

Video :3.5stars:
“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” is presented with a transfer that almost as bland as it’s story with a rather grey looking image that is flat and a bit washed out. The dim colors add to the dreariness of the movies main theme, and there’s a decent amount of detail to be resolved on screen. Despite the fact that the image looks a bit noisy and soft at times. Black levels are usually quite good with only moments of crush and lack of shadow detail. The colors are desaturated and rather toned down, with only a few times where primaries are really given as eye candy. .

Audio :3.5stars:
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track is largely competent, but decidedly front loaded for an action/thriller. The dialog is well defined and not muffled in the least, but the soundstage feels a bit boxy and restrained. There’s a few times where it opens up, such as in the initial bank robbery and the car chases near the end of the movie, but the majority of the time the center channel is the one carrying all the weight. There’s some mild LFE throughout and a few instances where the low end thumps more aggressively, but this is a fairly laid back track.

Extras :1star:

• Deleted Scenes

Overall: :3stars:

I feel ambivalent about “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken”. The movie itself is decently competent, but ends up being a bit more than boring and bland. It would have been interesting to see more backstory leading up to the kidnapping or more of what happened AFTER the men fled, but the movie tends to focus on what happened DURING the kidnapping with just a quick synopsis before and after. The audio and the video are largely competent, but uninspiring so I would have to say this would be relegated best as a cheap rental.

Additional Information:

Starring: Sam Worthington, Jim Sturgess, Anthony Hopkins
Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
Written by: William Brookfield
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Millennium Media
Rated: R
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 14th 2015

Buy Kidnapping Mr. Heineken On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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