Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is a film based on the true crime story of the founder of Heineken Beer, Alfred “Freddy” Heineken being kidnapped for a large ransom by a group of inexperienced kidnappers. Lead by Cor Van Hout (Jim Sturgess), a group of unemployed builders gather together to stage an elaborate kidnapping to try and earn enough money to get out of difficult times. Instead, they end up leading authorities on a crazy investigation in order to find Mr. Heineken and his driver to return them to safety.
Freddy Heineken is played by the incredible Anthony Hopkins. His is most certainly the strongest performance of the film, as he swears and makes elaborate demands of his kidnappers in order to make their lives difficult even though they appear to hold all the cards. His concern remains for his driver, who appears to be mostly unresponsive in the next room. Though Heineken does occasionally show fear, his sarcastic banter with the usually quiet kidnappers can be intense of just plain funny. Jan Boellard, the soft-hearted kidnapper is played by Australian actor Ryan Kwanten (True Blood). Though he insists time and again that things are going wrong, Sturgess’ character continues to insist they will get away with it.
I found myself frustrated watching Jim Sturgess as a wannabee crime lord. He is cocky, self-centered and appears to do what he wants without thinking through the consequences. Whether this is fleeing the country and his pregnant fiance or insisting on making phone calls that may get the group caught Sturgess feels out of place in the role. It is difficult to feel sorry for him or to maintain interest in his character.
The film is an action crime movie that just doesn’t seem to live up to the hype or the importance of the crime. One finds themselves rooting for the cops instead of the criminals.
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is available for limited theater release and VOD March 6, 2015.