The Heineken Kidnapping (Netherlands, 2011)

heineken (IranBmusic) (1)Directed by: Maarten Treurniet. I saw this one several times at the library, and I always meant to pick it up because A) it’s a way for me to bulk up my Dutch film cred, which right now stands at zero, and B) I thought it might be a pretty interesting half-true story about a period of crime history I know nothing about, and C) Rutger Hauer is badass, and D) I like Heineken beer. Now that I’ve seen it, I can safely say that now I have seen at least one Dutch movie, but the other points didn’t quite materialize. Where to begin? First of all, I was not drinking a Heineken while watching this movie, so maybe the full effect of this movie was lost on me. And second, Rutger Hauer, though ostensibly the protagonist, or at least co-tagonist with the lead kidnapper, barely does anything in this movie, and he certainly does not kick any ass. This part of the story is probably the least distorted part, which is why it’s so uninteresting. After being kidnapped and finally freed, does this wealthy, wily old magnate come down hard on his kidnappers, does he bend the law, does he break the law, does he personally watch them squirm? Or does he, you know, hire some extra security, have some meetings with the police, and generally behave as a regular, frightened human being would behave in such a situation? Again, Rutger Hauer kicks zero asses in this movie. Sure, there’s a bit of wily law-bending when they ship the crooks to the Caribbean, but that literally consists of Heineken calling the press and starting a smear campaign against the men who kidnapped him. They kidnap him and he tarnishes their reputation. Wow, the gloves are off! And while we’re here, that entire Caribbean episode, where masses of inarticulate, nondescript, homogenous black villagers start a riot in the town, relentlessly chasing the two white boys up and down the streets, with torches and pitchforks in hand, screaming and generally baying for blood, because of a few words from a radio DJ and a newspaper article, simply in order to spike the action in this otherwise lifeless movie—all that shit is terrible. That whole thing did nothing for me (and I highly doubt how much of that particular episode was mirrored in the historical record). Instead of good old Rutger Hauer kicking ass and taking names, playing a lunatic old millionaire going after the scuzzy hoodlums who tortured him, it’s a boring legal procedural hiding behind a true-to-life desire not to “distort the facts in the name of sensationalism”, couched between an incredibly sensational, unnecessary,  and insultingly colonialist depiction of black Caribbeans as mindless savages. I can forgive some stuff in some movies, but this movie was frustratingly aimless and undercooked, despite having the potential, with the raw elements of its story, to tell a really compelling tale. And, then, on top of it all, they throw in a bunch of flat-out, straight up, early-20th century racist shit in there? Really? Give me a fucking break.

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3 responses to “The Heineken Kidnapping (Netherlands, 2011)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2014 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: The Vanishing (Netherlands/France, 1988) | Offhand Reviews·

  3. Pingback: Saving Mr. Wu (China, 2015) | Offhand Reviews·

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