24 February 2002 | JesperT
Reasonable, but far from captivating real life drama
In 1992 Stephanie Slater was kidnapped, raped, and held for ransom by Michael Sams, who imprisoned her in a coffin-like box for eight days. "Beyond fear" is the TV version of this real life drama.
The movie focuses on how Stephanie (played well by Gina McKee) and her family tackle the problems of returning to 'normal' life after her kidnapping.
The kidnapping itself, which offhand seems like the most ideal part for a drama, only takes up a small amount of the movie, and is dealt with in flashbacks. This also limits the suspense element as we know that Stephanie will be set free by her kidnapper. This may be obvious to most of the British viewers, but not for the rest of the world.
Based on the information Stephanie is able to give to the police, they fairly quickly capture the kidnapper, and the rest of the movie deals with the trial and the problems she faces with respect to how she should 'relive' the 8 days in front of the jury and the kidnapper.
The kidnapper quickly confesses to the kidnapping of Stephanie but refuses to be linked to another kidnaping/murder some years earlier. Despite another obvious drama the focus of the movie shifts back to the personal problems of Stephanie, which simply fail to capture my attention despite the heroic efforts of most of the actors (the police-men excluded).
The real version of this story is undoubtedly far more cruel than what you have seen in many other movies, but it simply does not transform well onto the screen - not because of the story, but because the focus is too much on how people deal with a kidnapping and/or rape. Other movies have handled this issue far better. The main reason for not calling this movie a complete waste of time is the performances of the actors - especially Sylvester McCoy.