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Secuestro Express

  • Film

Time Out says

Take a tip and don’t drive a flash car in Caracas. Expensive wheels mean money, money means fat ransom payments, and kidnappers are always on the lookout for their next target. When junior doctor Carla (Mía Maestro) and her socialite boyfriend (Jean Paul Leroux) are bundled into a car by a trio of badass dudes, they almost know what they’re in for: a call goes out to their parents, giving them just a few hours to get together a serious wad of cash – or else. The constant threat of shooting, beating or rape, and the lack of any guarantee the victims will be left unharmed at the end makes this strong debut feature a stomach-tightening experience, especially since the digital camerawork in the nocturnal backstreets of the Venezuelan capital is a model of grainy authenticity. No wonder Rubén Blades as the girl’s medico dad looks seriously anxious.

‘City of God’ is an obvious reference point here, but where Fernando Meirelles brought an almost mythic resonance to Brazil’s urban chaos, this is a tighter, down ‘n’ dirty affair, screeching along the knife-edge of a compact time-scale with B-picture guile and efficiency. True, the characters are all recognisable types (party girl with a heart, crim with a conscience and so on), but what impresses is Jakubowicz’s ability to ramp up the action yet still find room for more reflective moments filtering in an underlying message of social communication. On these shores, this unexpectedly understanding attitude won’t carry quite the same provocative charge it did for home audiences, but the vivid, angry potency of the filmmaking is clear for all to see.
Written by Trevor Johnston

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 9 June 2006
  • Duration:86 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Jonathan Jakubowicz
  • Screenwriter:Jonathan Jakubowicz
  • Cast:
    • Mia Maestro
    • Carlos Julio Molina
    • Pedro Perez
    • Carlos Madera
    • Jean Paul Leroux
    • Ruben Blades
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