The Beer Man Abduction – Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015)

Pretty pedestrian.  So back in 1983, some desperate men decided that it was in their best interest to kidnap beer tycoon Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), so as to collect a handsome ransom.  This is a rendition of that true story.  This is another 2015 movie that I watched pretty blindly, not knowing much of anything about it going in.  There are a few recognizable faces here, such as Jim Sturgess from Across the Universe fame, and the world’s most generic action star Sam Worthington.  The biggest name here is Anthony Hopkins as the titular Mr. Heineken, and he is usually fun to watch in almost all of his roles in his expansive career.  Unfortunately here, he’s really not given much to do other than play slightly eccentric billionaire victim, and he’s not given a whole lot of screen time, either.

hopkinsWhat this means is a lot of polite requests for classical music and Chinese food.

I think that this started off with a whole lot of promise.  With the opening scene, you’re anticipating a bunch of hardened criminals, psyching themselves up to rob a bank, only to see them sit down and get rejected for a loan by a pencil pusher.  In addition to that, I think that this benefits in that this hasn’t really been told before.  Granted, I wasn’t even alive back in 1983, so I am working with that disadvantage, but this isn’t a story that I have ever heard about, and I had no idea that the face of an entire company got kidnapped for three weeks back in the 80’s.  I also like the fact that while these guys are new to crime, they’re not awful or excellent, they’re somewhere in the capable middle, which is where I suppose the majority of reasonably intelligent people would fall if they were truly down on their luck and had no other choice but to resort to crime.

boysThis isn’t Pain & Gain where it is hilariously stupefying that the crime is even possible, it is conceivable that with enough planning, these guys could pull this off.

The problem that I have with this movie is that there really isn’t that much to it.  It’s very straightforward, but I suppose that is because it is based on a true story, and you can only glamorize something so much.  There’s really no pizzazz, when this is the kind of story where a little bit of flair would spice things up appropriately, like 2008’s The Bank Job.  It’s never bad, but it never strives to be anything above average.  This is perfectly watchable, it’s just difficult to make a true connection with.  For a much better kidnapping crime story, go watch The Disappearance of Alice Creed; that movie has many more twists and turns so as to truly earn your engagement.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015) **1/2

– Critic for Hire


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