Theatre & Reviews

Kidnap review by Peter Feldman

Cast: Halle Berry, Andy Wagner, Czarmella Riley, Brice Fisher

Director: Luis Prieto

Classification: 13 V

Halle Berry has been absent from the big screen for some time but now returns in a thriller that will resonate with the parents of every young child.

Director Luis Prieto plays on the fear factor to conjure up a story that serves as a warning to parents about keeping their eyes on their children because they never know when that little person in their life will suddenly disappear from sight – kidnapped by unknown forces. America is a huge country and stories of missing children are a frightening aspect of modern living. ‘Kidnap’ plugs into this fear when a single mother (Halle Berry) takes her beautiful child to the park for an outing.

She moves away from the bench where her child is sitting to take an important  phone call. On her return she discovers the child has gone. Frantic with worry, she checks out the park and then sees her child being shoved into a motor car and driven off at high speed. Most mothers would contact the police immediately and let them do their business – but not this feisty woman who jumps into her vehicle and sets chase.

What ensues during the course of this engrossing escapade, is the Berry character chasing the kidnappers along the county’s highways and byways. The chase, which is well photographed from every conceivable angle, is a tense affair and the Berry character, now throwing all caution to the wind, shows  immense driving skills as she chases down the low-life couple responsible for her child’s kidnapping.

The story has far bigger ramifications, as we soon discover, and pinpoints a tragic situation that exists in a world gone berserk. To go into more detail here would reveal key plot elements. Suffice to say that Berry, the only recognisable face in this seedy tale, anchors the production with her professionalism as the narrative builds to a dramatic climax.

One may argue that ‘Kidnap’ is too far-fetched in its application to ring true, but director Luis Prieto has sewn a strong message into the fabric of the story that needs to be heeded.

I must add that Halle Berry is still a screen force and, despite some career missteps, is a concerned citizen when it comes to crimes of this nature. She also serves as one of the executive producers on the project.

About the author

Peter Feldman

Peter has been a journalist and arts critic for almost 50 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He was one of only two South African journalists to be invited by Steven Spielberg to the Hook film junket in LA in 1991 where he interviewed the famous director as well as Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams. He attended the gala James Bond premiere in London in 1981 and did an iconic interview in a Rolls Royce with Roger Moore who played Bond. He spent a week touring England with Queen prior to their Sun City visit in 1983, interviewed a host of international stars on films sets in Hollywood and London and was the first local journalist to nail an interview with The Rolling Stones prior to their SA visit in 1995.
He is active in the freelance field and his work has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He has also worked on TV and radio (ChaiFM 101.9) in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He is a recent recipient of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz award in recognition for his long standing journalistic support for the arts. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. He coined the phrase "Local is Lekker" which he used in his columns in The Star Tonight and broadcast in the 70s on David Gresham's popular afternoon show on Springbok Radio.

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