Posted: August 11, 2011 in Reviews
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Secuestrados. Kidnapped.

A breathless (for the lack of a better word) piece of Spanish cinema. Filmed in 12 shots, yes you heard right, exactly 12, extremely agonizing shots of pure emotional torture. A film with a wonderfully simplistic plot quickly spirals into the deep recesses of personal agony as the three main protagonists of the film are held against their will by three Albanian robbers in their new home on the outskirts of a large Spanish metropolis.

The ensuing scenes are not for the faint of heart as the terror and pure brutality deepens and becomes an overwhelming quest for a glimmer of hope for the three protagonists. The viewer is left in awe and utter disgust at the seemingly incoherent violence.

The power of Kidnapped lies in that it is a more emotionally demanding torture thriller than its’ American counterparts (think Eli Roth’s equally disturbing Hostel). This is Spanish writer/director Miguel Angel Vivas’ first foray into a full length feature. Kidnapped smells like new blood from the get-go, as the fresh approach with split screens and drawn out scenes become less of a nuisance and more of a terrifying, I-need-to-look-away-now moment. Vivas uses special tricks with split screens in order to have the viewer experience dual POV’s (That is POINT OF VIEWS for the non-film enthusiasts) and to see the action happening at the same period of time in different scenes. This creates an interesting effect as is seen at the closing of the second act and the opening of the third. Vivas broke away from the mold and delivered a film which grabs onto you and digs so deep into your flesh that you’re unable to look away. It sucks the final breath from the viewer in order to witness the snuff-esque quality of this film and stay enthralled to the bitter end. The literal violence becomes unbearable at times, but somehow requires the viewer to experience this masterpiece with your eyes open, each and every agonizing scene.

I usually shy away from torture porn. I see these films as lazy re-enactments of an equally mindless and lazy society. For fear of being labelled a film snob, I decided to endure Kidnapped and follow it all the way through to the end, as objectively as possible. The resulting experience can only be described as the witnessing of a car accident. You see the body parts lying on the road, but you’re so attracted to the macabre idea of seeing a head that you drive closer to the accident. The result? No head, just hysterical people and the realization in their eyes that their life will never, ever be the same again. Kidnapped is on my must-tell-people-about list for 2011. It is one of the most powerful and violent Spanish films I have seen since the brilliant Amores Perros, the first part of the Death Trilogy by Alejandro Sans Innaritu. It digs deep into your soul and refuses to let go until the spectacular final scene, which is one of extreme and utter emotional disgust.

5 / 5

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