Cinema Reviews

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken Review


Based off a true story Kidnapping Freddy Heineken does everything it says on the tin. The film takes place in 1983 when a group of radical young men plot to emulate the then cause celebre, The Baader Meinhof Gang and kidnap a wealthy individual, although this band seem to lack the ideological stance of Baader Meinhof. Their chosen target is Alfred ‘Freddy’ Heineken, heir to the lager family. They realise they need a water tight plan, oh yeah and funds so decide to rob a Securicor van. The robbery and subsequent chase is one of the more exciting elements in the film involving a good old fashioned, non-CGI 1970s style police chase through the cobbled streets of Amsterdam culminating in a speedboat chase. After this the gang of five plan their kidnapping of Heineken in exchange for a ransom. After they do so, there is tension as there is no reply to their demands as they are asking for 35 million Dutch gilders (€16 million), the largest sum to be paid out for a kidnapping up to that date. For over two weeks the gang are nervous that they are not being willingly received; their cheeky chappy front giving way to tension between them.

Heineken, held and tied in a sound proofed room while the other captive, his chauffeur is held in another room senses this and begins to play mind games with his captors. After roughly three weeks the money is left and potentially the gang are very rich, looking at this as purely a business venture. However, from an as yet still unknown source a grass helps the police to uncover the gang and are captured one by one.

The film does stick to the facts, but a lack of local accents can be irritating as the gang sound like a bunch of cheeky chappy Essex boys rather than Dutch locals; one feels that all is missing is Danny Dyer. Hopkins as usual, while not given too much of a centre stage does command his performance with the usual aplomb, even looking his captors into their ski-masked eyes and giving them some good old fashioned Hannibal Lector staring (sorry couldn’t resist the parallel). This is not a film with any particular twists and turns and largely sticks to the facts of the story, giving a fairly literal account and as a result is even a tad clichéd. Never the less it also has some old fashioned 1970s appeal to it.

Released in the Netherlands at the start of the year it has just been given its UK release, released primarily at Empire Cinemas.

Chris Hick

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