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Secuestro Express (R)

Release Date: August 5th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center and AMC Empire 25) by Miramax Films.
The Cast: Mia Maestro, Jean Paul Leroux, Ruben Blades, Carlos Molina, Pedro Perez.
Directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz.
In Spanish with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: A young couple (Maestro and Leroux) are kidnapped and held for ransom.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: In this bold and gritty film, there is no rhyme or reason as to why the young couple are kidnapped---they didn't do anything wrong except be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The only motive that the kidnappers have is that they want money from the woman's rich father (Blades). From the first frame to the last, the film moves at a fast pace. As soon as the father receives a call from the kidnappers about the ransom, there is a lot of tension as to how it will all end. The scary fact is that there are many kidnappings just like this in Latin America that are not publicized. There are very few moments to catch your breath as the young couple are forced to endure a lot of mental torture and to meet the low-life friends of their kidnappers. Obviously, there is plenty of sex and drugs as well. What makes the plot more complicated is that even the police is corrupt, so it is hard for the father to trust or rely on anyone besides himself. It would have been more interesting if the father would take the law into his own hands and try to investigate the crime on his own. However, focusing the plot on the young couple's harsh kidnapping is just as suspenseful. The entire film is shot in digital video, which heightens the reality and even makes it feel like a documentary at times.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: There are a lot of harsh truths that truly bring out the dark side of life. One should be very fortunate to live in a place where the government can be relied upon and that one feels safe living in--unlike the city in this film. Yes, this is only a movie but in some places in the world it can and does really happen. Moreover, the kidnappers are not only deranged but greedy. They don't want social reform or anything intellectual. All they want is money. Money is the root of all evil, but the paradox is that at the same time, it's what makes the world go round.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A bold and gritty film full of energy and high tension. A true eye-opener to a dangerous part of the world.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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