Moderately entertaining.

by Martin Hafer

Back in the early 1980s, Freddy Heineken, one of the richest men in the Netherlands and the head of Heineken International, was kidnapped along with his driver. Eventually, one of the largest ransoms ever was paid for his release. This film is about the kidnapping from the point of view of the crooks as well as its aftermath.

This is interesting because you never see or hear anything about the police investigation–you only see the police when they are pouncing on the criminals at the end of the film. This all sounds very exciting….so why was I left so unaffected by the film? It is competently made but also rather ordinary.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken
Directed by
Daniel Alfredson
Sam Worthington, Anthony Hopkins, Jim Sturgess
Release Date
6 March 2015
Martin’s Grade: B-

On the positive side, the music is noteworthy. It provides a taut atmosphere and some of the action sequences were very solid. Oddly, the most exciting moment in the film occurs early in the movie–well before the actual kidnapping. In order to raise funds to pull off the kidnapping, the gang knocks over a bank–and it’s exactly what I assumed the rest of the film would be like. However, sadly, after this the kidnapping seemed a bit anticlimactic and the film just seems to descend into a state of adequacy and nothing more. I think much of it is because I never felt particularly connected with the kidnappers and the tension just seemed to dissipate until the relatively exciting finale. The bottom line is that this would be a decent film to rent, but I couldn’t see heading to the theaters for this one.

The same story is told, incidentally, in a Dutch language film titled The Heineken Kidnapping, starring Rutger Hauer as Freddy Heineken. In this version, the filmmakers were able to secure the talents of Anthony Hopkins to play the beer baron.