Magazine article Variety

The Heineken Kidnapping

Magazine article Variety

The Heineken Kidnapping

Article excerpt

FILM

The Heineken Kidnapping

DE HEINEKEN ONTVOERING

Netherlands

One of the most famous abduction cases in Dutch history is brought to the bigscreen in writer-director Maarten Treurniets "The Heineken Kidnapping." Pic not only casts Rutger Hauer In the role of the beer mogulturn ed -abductee but intriguingly contrasts this world-weary, intelligent and filthy-rich entrepreneur with the youngest of his kidnappers. Though it somewhat struggles to keep things character-focused in the second half, Treurniefs ambitious thrillerdrama was a respectable hit at home last fall, and packs enough commercial elements for some niche biz abroad. MPI Media Group guzzled up U.S. rights.

In early 1980s Amsterdam, young and reckless Rem (Reinout Schölten van Aschat) overhears arrangements for a crime and wants in on the job. This creates friction with lowlife Cor (GUs Naber), the self-appointed leader of a group that also includes the religious Frans (Teun Kuilboer) and funnyman Jan (Korneel Evers). Their proposed kidnapping of brewski baron Alfred Heineken (Hauer) is particularly fitting for Rem, since the boy's meek father (Ton Kas), who worked at Heineken, was laid off for having become, irony of ironies, an alcoholic.

Though they're far from professional criminals, the schemers figure out a way to abduct their target and his chauffeur, and lock them up in a storage building in an industrial area of the capital. Though Treurniet, who co-wrote the screenplay with crime novelist Kees van Beynum, takes ample time to illustrate the planning and execution of the crime, he also builds in enough moments to develop the personalities of polar opposites Heineken and Rem; the supporting characters are more perfunctorily drawn.

The hardened captain of industry is unaccustomed to not getting what he wants and having people tell him what to do, and his world is turned inside out when he realizes he's powerless around these vicious, masked kidnappers. Rem, barely out of his teens, is charged with watching over Heineken, and lets the responsibility go to his head, allowing a sadistic streak to surface. Hauer, in his first substantial Dutch-language perf in years, and relative newcomer Schölten van Aschat (son of "Tirza" thesp Gijs) easily hold their own, and the two have great chemistry, mostly of the magnetic-repulsion kind. …

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