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Kidnap October 5, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Kidnap has two things going for it. The first one is director Sanjay Gadhvi, whose name is now recognized post the success of the Dhoom films. The second is Imran Khan, fresh from the success of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. While the latter proves to be the only watchable actor in the film, the former fails to deliver.

Sonia (Minissha Lamba) is a spoilt rich kid of divorced parents (Sanjay Dutt and Vidya Malvade). She is kidnapped just before her eighteenth birthday by Kabir (Imran Khan), who has a score to settle with her father. While Kabir’s motives remain a mystery, he sets the father some tough tasks to do in order to win his daughter back. The father succeeds in his tasks but can he get his daughter back and more importantly, what does Kabir want?

When the film starts off with an imaginatively done picture story of Kabir’s past, you think it won’t be bad but as soon as the title sequence ends, Minissha comes out of nowhere singing and dancing and you know its time to re-evaluate. I couldn’t stop laughing whenever Minissha showed up in yet another sexy outfit in the kidnapper’s den. And when Dutt finally sees his daughter after eight long years, he goes “You look so..” and pauses. The audience gasped “sexy” even before he could say “grown-up”.

The film is written by Shibani Bathija (Fanaa, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna), which means that you need to expect some overdone emotional moments that could bring unexpected laughter. With Gadhvi in place as director, you can expect a combination of babes in short clothes (one bikini sequence is a must) followed or preceded by exciting action sequences and limited logic. But there are problems here. Bikinis and cleavage don’t make anyone sexy and Lamba fails to ooze any real sensuality and her performance mars the film to an extent. An even bigger issue is watching an aged and overweight Sanjay Dutt chasing trains, climbing buildings, dancing, romancing and running in slow motion. This brings down the film further.

Imran Khan doesn’t look menacing but he is quite believable as the kidnapper and the chase sequence that he features in is the only exciting action piece. Apart from him, the casting in this film is a disaster. Malvade (Chak De) looks and performs much better than a disappointing Lamba (Bachna Ae Haseeno) but you do cringe when she has to kiss a much much older looking Dutt. Dutt better do something about his weight because it is hard to watch him in anything that requires movement. When Lamba can be seventeen and Malvade can pass off as her mother, Hrithik Roshan or Abhishek Bachchan or someone in their age group could have played the father and maybe the action sequences could have been more believable.

Kidnap isn’t trying to be much more than a masala film but it goes wrong in many ways. The plot isn’t a bad one for such a film but the casting, performances, writing, dialogue and execution leave a lot to be desired.

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Gone Baby Gone October 18, 2007

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Ben Affleck’s directorial debut is a crime thriller with a conscience. Set in Boston, the film revolves around the abduction of a four year old girl. Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck), a detective who finds lost children along with his partner Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monahan), is brought into the case to help the police due to his knowledge of the people in the area. Police chief Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) is not impressed but instructs his senior detectives, Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton) to cooperate. As the investigation progresses, the team find some leads but something goes very wrong bringing the case to an abrupt end. However, Kenzie becomes emotionally attached and he investigates further to uncover the truth behind what went wrong.

The screenplay (by Affleck, who co-wrote Good Will Hunting, and Aaron Stockard) is based on a novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River). Affleck does a splendid job in writing and directing this film. He creates the right mood to feel the characters and the neighborhood. The dialogue is superb, especially in the first half of the film. Just when you think this could be a simple thriller, it kicks you out of your comfort zone. The rest of the film changes tracks to a brooding moralistic drama. Affleck directs this smartly and manages to keep you guessing as the motives of each of the characters unfold.

This film is well cast and provides the scope for multiple actors to shine. Casey Affleck (Good Will Hunting, Ocean’s Thirteen), who is also winning over critics with his performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, is impressive as Patrick Kenzie. His brother’s faith in him is not misplaced. Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris are good as usual, with Harris getting the better part. Amy Ryan, playing the alcoholic mother of the kidnapped child, is very effective. Michelle Monahan is adequate but she doesn’t get the scope to impress.

The film has its share of twists to keep you engrossed but this is not the fast-paced popcorn thriller. It has a heart and a mind as well. Watch this if you are looking for an intelligent thriller that leaves you thinking. I was still wondering about the climax, its implications and what was right/wrong when I left the theater and I am sure many will have the same experience.