"Frantic Mother Chases Son’s Kidnappers"
When children are involved, danger can be a split second away. That’s the idea behind the new thriller, KIDNAP, which invokes horror and tension in one of the worst fears of a parent: losing a child to a predator. The movie tells the story of Karla, a single mother, and her son Frankie.
Halle Berry plays the mother in KIDNAP. In the beginning, Karla struggles with her new role as a single parent. She tries to balance work and home for the sake of providing normalcy for her son, Frankie. Stressed and distant, she wrestles with presenting a strong face for Frankie. This resolve, driven by her love, is the heart of the movie. When the worst happens at her most distracted moment, Karla draws on her parental love for the strength to overcome her fear so she can pursue her son and his kidnappers. Karla’s chase after the kidnappers offers many moments of terror and subtle moments of humor for levity. With relentless and reckless abandon, Karla does everything in her power to fight against her son’s kidnappers.
KIDNAP is a high-stakes, emotionally charged tale of caution as well as action. The movie succeeds in putting the viewer in the midst of the action to save Frankie. It has high production values. From shot composition to acting to the score, KIDNAP creates an immersive world that captures the audience from the first frame until the last.
That said, the content is very violent and dark, with a lot of car chases. The abduction of a child is a heavy topic. Indeed, the movie highlights the epidemic society has with human trafficking. Society fails to protect children every day. So, it’s in that light that KIDNAP asks the question: Who will act? The movie also asks, from a parent’s perspective: How far would you go to save your child? Would you do something, or freeze?
Beneath the surface of the movie’s car chase carnage, a deeper question quietly whispers to the audience: Where is God when all the children go missing particularly in the instance of Frankie? The movie has many instances where Karla invokes the name of God, but by her own admission she rarely prays. In fact, she admits to only praying when things go wrong. In this time of terror, the prayer she prays is important for the question. While in the chase, she prays to God to deliver Frankie, promising many things if God would only act. Silence prevails; so the question is, is God absent or is Karla the answer of her own prayer? Put another way, does God choose to act through Karla to respond and rectify this particular evil event, her son’s kidnapping? The movie doesn’t seem to provide an answer to these questions, but leaves it up to the audience to answer them as the movie ends.
KIDNAP graphically portrays all the violence associated with a high-speed pursuit. There are many violent scenes where people get hit by cars and die violent deaths at the hands of an attacker. KIDNAP also contains some brief strong foul language, but there are many light profanities. Beyond the many references to God and prayer, the moral questions raised by the movie are sidelined by the action, story and characters. KIDNAP has some positive references to God, but doesn’t overtly depict a personal God who acts. So, it contains just a residue of Christianity.
Ultimately, KIDNAP is a tale for mature viewers, not children. MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong or extreme caution, but commends KIDNAP for exploring some important issues, including spiritual questions, and for giving viewers a strong mother figure who’s well-acted by Halle Berry.
(BB, CC, LLL, VVV, M) Strong moral, redemptive worldview with some overt appeals to God by the heroine trying to save her son from kidnappers, set in a morally broken world with broken marriages, the evils of human trafficking and the inability society to protect individuals, but movie is a little open-ended regarding the question of whether God actively intervenes in the world; three obscenities (including one “f” word), two strong profanities and 24 light profanities; intense violence with some blood includes vehicular violence with multiple car crashes and hitting a pedestrian, villain holds a knife to a child’s throat, graphic portrayal of a car crash victim, graphic depictions of an individual being dragged through the woods, a forceful drowning in front of a child, violent striking of a person with a shovel, vehicular manslaughter, and murder; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, kidnapping of a child, reckless driving and vehicle theft.
KIDNAP follows Karla, who, after losing her son Frankie in the park, methodically hunts down his kidnappers. A high-speed, high-stakes car chase follows, leaving behind some massive carnage. With reckless abandon, Karla pursues Frankie and his kidnappers. Finding no help, she risks her own life to save her son and bring him back safely. In the process of the chase, KIDNAP highlights the depth of depravity coming from child trafficking.
Starring Halle Berry as the mother, KIDNAP is a high adrenaline thrill ride. Meticulously executed, it invokes all the right emotions and offers high production values. The stunts are breathtaking, even if they sometimes stretch credibility. The movie also succeeds in creating lots of empathy. From the first frame until the last, the audience cheers for the mother as she tries to save her son. With positive references to God and prayer, KIDNAP raises the question of how to respond to evil when given the chance. KIDNAP is a violent movie with plenty of foul language, though most of the language is light. MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for older teenagers and adults.