KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN (yes, it's that beer guy), based on a real-life event that many Americans might not be familiar with, occurring in (and lasting most of) the month of November, 1983, in The Netherlands -- is a straight-ahead, what-happened-and-why affair that sticks mostly to the facts, while providing pretty good character studies of the participants as it rolls perkily along.
William Brookfield and reporter Peter R. de Vries and directed handily by Sweden's Daniel Alfredson (shown at left), the film presents us with a group of pals, somewhat down on their luck and looking to make a killing somehow or other, who, when one of its earlier get-rich-quick schemes (below) goes bad, decides to kidnap the local beer maven. The IQ level and social/ emotional smarts of this group vary, so its usual leaders -- Cor (Jim Sturgess) and Willem (Sam Worthington) -- take over to see that events go as planned.
Anthony Hopkins, in the title role. We usually expect good things from this actor, and he does not disappoint here, bringing a fierce intelligence and a certan charm to the role of the beer magnate. Despite the care he appears to show for his chauffeur, who is also kidnapped and threatened with death, you can, without too much effort, ascertain in this man the ability to cast aside anything or anyone that stands in his way.
Mark van Eeuwen stands out as the worst of these bad apples. Ryan Kwanten is given so little to do that he once again mostly fades into the woodwork as one of the crew, but David Dencik registers well as Heineken's cowed driver.
Alchemy, opens this Friday, March 6, in a limited release.