The preview of Halle Berry’s “Kidnap” came to the public’s attention in late 2016. The release date was moved to January of 2017, moved a few times, and was not mentioned for a while. Finally, a reliable source indicated that it would be released this month. It is out this August, and it is worth the wait!
David Erlich’s review of “Kidnap” is unnecessarily dismissive and insulting. Reviewers like Erlich are the reason fans go to see a movie despite them thrashing it. David Erlich must not have watched the entire movie or must not have watched it at all. He missed the crucial essence of this most prolific film and its profound message: that we should rescue exploited and missing children with the tenacity of a mother bear.
Unlike the parents of the children on the “Missing” posters at the police station, Karla Dyson refused to do as the police requested: go home. “They waited,” Karla realizes and spurs herself to continue the search for her abducted son.
Flash over to a more credible source: NBC News recognizes the importance of the movie. As such, any parent who loves his/her child will be vested emotionally in this movie. The script is believable. That parent in the audience is on the edge of the seat cheering on this struggling mother whose callous husband tosses her aside for lack of post-secondary education while he makes a dive for a pediatrician. Berry’s character gives tenacity a different meaning.
The most crucial aspect of reading a book (or–as I tell my students–READING a movie) is reference point. Writing a review demands the same: making the plot relevant to one’s life. Therefore, we relate to Halle Berry’s character, Karla Dyson, and are sold on Halle Berry’s convincing portrayal of a low-income/minimum-wage earning waitress whose lifeline is her son, Frankie. As parents, we are in tune with the twists and turns. When we stare into Karla Dyson’s horror-filled eyes, we feel her helplessness, her raw dread, and her iron-clad resolution. “To say that Karla was relentless is a gross understatement. Berry made sure we feel the despair and vulnerability of this mother as she stuck to her chase no matter how many times she cheated death doing so,” writes CBN News.
Rooting for Karla Dyson, we join her as fierce mothers (humans, giant anteaters, swans, brown bears, etc.) who will go to the ends of the world to keep our offspring from harm. If movies like the “Die Hard” franchise and the “Taken” trilogy can be believed, so can “Kidnap.” Karla Dyson accomplishes so much without the violence rampant in most action thrillers. She convinces us that she is decent and is above violence unless it is her only recourse.
The movie needs and receives a mother’s touch, a splash of sensitivity that introduces the plot. The audience hears Mother Karla continuing a stream of off-camera nurturing. We sense Berry’s role as one of the producers in the touchy-feely lead-in that allows the audience to watch the baby boy grow from birth to a six-year old. The audience falls in love with the baby and feeds into the palpable and fierce bond between mother and son. The viewer now has bought into the mindset of the determined giant anteater and the extent she will go to ensure the safety of the core of her being.
This edge-of-the-seat thriller sends the viewer’s blood racing from Frankie’s kidnapping to the engrossing chase. Several instances will catch the viewer by surprise and might elicit loud screams. The film might not have received the budget or the exposure of “Monster Ball,” “X-Men” movies, or Bond’s “Die Another Day,” but in terms of its centrality to humanity and its relevant themes, “Kidnap” gives all other Berry films a run for their money.
The ultimate one-liner that will make this film famous is Karla Dyson’s delivery to the kidnapper: “You took the wrong kid!”
Kudos to you, Halle Berry: actress and producer!