1 August 2012 | christian94
Kidnapping, but not Kid's Play
Kidnapping has been on the rise and much more organised in the last two decades, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. I personally have stories of close people being kidnapped in Haiti and Venezuela. Now we are hearing more of India and South Africa, but in 2010, according to the available statistics, the six countries in the world ranked highest for kidnapping for ransom were Colombia, Italy, Lebanon, Peru, the Philippines, and, perhaps surprisingly, the United States! Certainly slightly skewed by Phoenix, AZ, which has become the second kidnapping capital in the world after Mexico City, DF, the concern remains a global one nonetheless.
The topic is not new, but make for potential griping dramatic storyline. We had the effective "Ransom (1996)", the delectable "Gone Baby Gone (2007)" and the steadfast "Taken (2008)" which is set for a sequel this year. "Graceland (2012)" is a marvellous addition to the genre and is surely the best film yet on the topic. It is twisted and almost tedious, until a Usual Suspect-like quality is revealed in the script and sustained by the uncompromising direction.
The beginning and build-up is superb and shocking and the ending puts everything in equally appalling perspective. The middle part lags at times, with less action and suspense than its American counterparts, but instead explores themes of family, class, corruption, extortion, sexual behaviour, suspicion, sickness, trafficking, revenge, redemption, etc. with great wit and repartee.
The acting shines for the victims and the dutiful detective, although the kidnappers' casting may have been on purpose to portray less cunning and calculating individuals. The 84 minutes running time keeps it relatively short and definitely not sweet, leaving you with an awkward after-taste and after-thought as you leave the theatre.
Philippines 2012 | 84 min | HD Tagalog & English language (English subtitles)