It was the perfect crime until they got away with it.
The true story of the kidnapping of Freddy Heineken, the grandson of the founder of the Heineken brewery, and his driver. They were released after a ransom of 35 million Dutch guilders was paid.
ActorsStarring: Anthony Hopkins, Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Mark van Eeuwen, Thomas Cocquerel
This movie tells the story of the real-life kidnapping of Freddy Heineken and his driver in 1983. As a young teenager at the time I remember this being all over the news for weeks and months so I was interested to see this film. Especially considering it has a strong cast with Anthony Hopkins as Heineken and Sam Worthington and Jim Sturgess amongst the kidnappers. The movie is based on a book by Peter R. de Vries, a well-known Dutch crime reporter who takes pride in finding out the truth.
Well, this movie may be true to fact, but that doesn’t necessarily make for an interesting movie then. I am not sure it is completely factual – the kidnappers don’t exactly come across as the sharpest tools in the shed, so you wonder how they get away with anything for so long – but the movie doesn’t show anything from the perspective of the police, or the Heineken company, or the Heineken family, or any angle other than that of the kidnappers, so you don’t really know what was going on. That is probably because Peter R de Vries never figured out what happened on that side of the story (apparently the police received a tip-off but they have never disclosed who this came from).
Actually the acting is not terrible; Worthington and Sturgess deliver very acceptable performances, whilst Anthony Hopkins is unfortunately not a big contributor to the whole film – neither Heineken or his driver get any significant depth of character in the story. Neither do any of the kidnappers – we never end up caring for or rooting for anyone. There are a few action scenes, but they are not very exciting. We don’t see any fascinating facts or ingenious plotting going on. It’s just all a bit… bland…? Kidnapping a tycoon for a ƒ35m (~€16m) ransom is a bit boring apparently.
I did watch it out of and with interest, but it is never very interesting. It is not exciting. It is not gripping. At best it is a dramatized documentary, but it is not cinema material.
You do wonder if the kidnappers were as dim in real life as they come across in the movie; the ring leader Willem Holleeder is today in 2015 probably Holland’s most notorious criminal – regularly in the news for various crimes he is accused of over the last couple of decades. He served 11 years in prison for the Heineken kidnapping (1984-1995), and another 5 years (2007-2012) for multiple extortions. He was then arrested for new exortion cases in 2013 – apparently after a taskforce of 450 police and army personnel were on his case. The trial is still pending.
So really maybe the Heineken case was the accidental making of Holland’s Biggest Criminal in Willem Holleeder. And maybe that would make for a more interesting movie subject than Kidnapping Mr. Heineken…