June 27th 2011 23:13
The plot of Kidnapped is as lean as it is mean, but this is not a movie concerned with a three-act structure, a dramatic character arc, and the hero’s journey. Kidnapped is an exercise in sustained terrorising; the appalling consequences of a house invasion. Apparently there are a startling number of home invasions in Europe, around three million a year. Kidnapped, with its somewhat misleading title, and its misleading, but entirely captivating prologue (its meaning becomes apparent further down the track), takes place in real time (a very brisk 80-minute running time) and unfolds in what appears to be only a handful of shots. Its elaborate staging is one of the movie’s most impressive elements, and in that way is similar to another Spanish movie, The Silent House (2010). But Kidnapped takes no prisoners.
Three hooded men smash into the home shortly after the sun has gone down. They force Jaime, Marta and Isa to relinquish their credit cards and codes, and then the head assailant (Britan Biba) takes Jaime for a ride into town to withdraw money leaving Marta and Isa alone with the other two attackers. Isa's friend César (Xoel Yáńez) has yet to arrive, maybe he’ll be a hero, or maybe Jaime will be able to escape from his abductor.
Director and co-screenwriter Miguel Ángel Vivas is certainly a talent to watch. His command of the camera and the mise-en-scene is superb. There are several split-screen sequences, one of which joins in the middle at the end of the scene (a visual stylistic Roger Avary achieved to the same effect in The Rules of Attraction), which reminded me of the suspenseful intensity of Brian De Palma. But most impressive was the realistic execution of the few moments of horrendous violence; an arm-snapping, a throat-slitting, and the most horrific death via repeated blunt force trauma to the head since Irreversible (2002).
I could only find a Dutch teaser trailer, but you get the idea:
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