Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA/Germany, 2002. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Senator Film Produktion, The Canton Company, Mandolin Entertainment, Propaganda Films, 24 Hours Productions. Screenplay by Greg Iles, based on his novel 24 Hours. Cinematography by Frederick Elmes, Piotr Sobocinski. Produced by Mimi Polk Gitlin, Luis Mandoki. Music by John Ottman. Production Design by Richard Sylbert. Costume Design by Michael Kaplan. Film Editing by Gerald B. Greenberg.
It’s Kidnap By Numbers in this humdrum thriller that never has a single scary moment. Charlize Theron plays Alpha Mother Victim, a woman whose sickeningly sweet daughter (Dakota Fanning) is kidnapped before her very eyes and one of the captors (Kevin Bacon) stays behind to keep an eye on her. Meanwhile, across the state of Washington, Bacon’s wife (Courtney Love) has detained Theron’s husband (Stuart Townsend) and let him know of their little operation and the way in which to help out with the ransom money. The last location of action is a secluded cabin in the Cascades where the third cohort (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is keeping the little girl hostage. The film tries to infuse a little life into the very clichéd proceedings by creating a complicated web of plot movements between all the variously placed main characters, but never manages to get ahead of its audience for the tiniest fragment of a second. Theron is beautiful and vulnerable in a lead role that Ashley Judd thankfully seems to have been too busy to play (at least one innocent-woman-in-distress movie should bypass her from time to time), but her character eventually gets too placid and the audience stops rooting for her long before the film is over. Bacon does his best to come off as charmingly charismatic, those kinds of guys that you just can’t hate no matter how hard you try, but he’s mostly just giving in to Hollywood’s insistence on constantly casting him as white trash (the character’s emphasizing some semblance of ‘class struggle’ between himself and his victim is ineffective). Love gives the film’s most interesting and vibrant performance, but even her character sells out by the time the film reaches its exciting ending.