Susan Granger’s review of “Kidnap” (Aviron Pictures)
Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is devoted to her six year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa). A single mother, she works as a waitress in a New Orleans-area diner and spends all of her free time with her boy.
While Frankie’s playing at a nearby amusement park, Karla steps away to take an important phone call from her attorney; apparently, her ex-husband is suing for sole custody. When she looks up, Frankie’s gone.
Frantically searching, she spies a woman shoving Frankie into a teal-colored Mustang GT and driving off. Running after the kidnapper, distraught Karla drops her cell phone in the parking lot.
Climbing into her red Chrysler minivan, she takes off in pursuit. “As long as my son is in that car, I will not stop,” she vows. “Wherever you go, I will be right behind you.”
Making good on her word, Karla recklessly weaves in and out of traffic on Louisiana’s highways and back roads, leaving not only wrecked cars in her wake but also critically injured bystanders, including a motorcycle policeman. Collateral damage.
When she stops briefly at a local sheriff’s office, the officer at the desk calmly picks up the telephone and tells her to wait. Looking at a bulletin board filled with photos of missing children, Karla realizes she hasn’t a moment to spare and darts back to her battered vehicle.
Eventually, Karla discovers that there are two abductors, Terry and Margo Vicky (Chris McGinn, Lew Temple). They’re a crazy, confrontational backwoods couple who are operating a child trafficking ring out of an old farmhouse near a swamp on a dead-end road.
Working from Knate Lee’s pulpy, simplistic script that often defies logic, Spanish director Luis Prieto (“Pusher”) amps the suspense, keeping the tension taut, as Karla vows, “You messed with the wrong mother!”
FYI: According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 800,000 children are abducted in the United States each year; that’s roughly 2,000 a day!
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Kidnap” is a frenetic 5, a high-octane chase thriller.