Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Title: Secuestro Express
Cast: Mía Maestro, Rubén Blades, Carlos Julio Molina, Pedro Perez, Carlos Madera, Jean Paul Leroux
Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz

An affluent couple are on their way home. They stop to pick something up from a shop. She is concerned that its a bad neighbourhood. He is reckless, still high from the coke he has been snorting all night. The next thing they know they have guns in their face and they have been abducted. Families are phoned - you have two hours to get money, drop it and we'll return your loved ones. The couple are the latest victims of express kidnapping - none of this waiting around for people to collect millions for unrealistic demands - take them, get as much cash as you can get quick smart, and dump them before it gets complicated.

Of course that’s the theory. But as we all know from watching Mr/Lady Vengeance - there are good kidnappings and there are bad kidnappings. And lets face it, most films are going to follow a bad kidnapping. The kidnappers are amateurs, in that they are chancers, playing everything as it happens, quite partial to a bit of rape and murder when it comes down to it.

Secuestro Express translates as Kidnap Express, a Venezuelan film set in the capital city of Caracas. To a degree the set up and some of the stylistic elements suggest parallels to Man On Fire - a hollywood film following a kidnapping in Mexico City. The film talks about the number of people kidnapped a year, mixed with commentary captions, and jump shot/split screen shots. As the film goes on it calms down a little, and takes on a more run of the mill style. The film works at suggesting a nastiness, being loud and in your face, always edging towards real violence. Though given the inference that it is working on, Secuestro Express is actually less violent than one might expect.

On the whole the film makes an effort to be stylish and memorable, though it is really anything we haven't seen before. However it does create a certain tension, and manages to create a definite snapshot in time, where everything that happens does so in the express manner of the title.

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