Real-life events which captivated the Netherlands in 1983 sadly make for a bland true-crime drama, despite the presence of Anthony Hopkins, Jim Sturgess and Sam Worthington. Turned down for a bank loan, a bunch of previously law-abiding citizens hit on the money-making conceit of kidnapping the brewing magnate who was then one of the country’s wealthiest individuals.
Sturgess is his usual moderately likeable but hardly distinctive self as the nominal ringleader, and Worthington is predictably wooden as the gang’s most volatile member. Yet the script doesn’t succeed in getting the audience invested in their operation before trundling through the details – and since we only see the drama from their perspective, there’s very little tension as the law closes in.
Thankfully, Hopkins brings some charismatic presence to his role as Freddy Heineken, though again, true to the film’s circumspect approach we don’t sense much jeopardy in his plight. Moreover, in trying to psych-out his abductors he also makes the film’s mundane cautionary-tale agenda thuddingly obvious. One capably staged chase sequence apart, whizzing along Amsterdam’s narrow streets and wide canals, it’s not one to set the pulse racing.