Film

The True Story in Kidnapping Mr. Heineken Tastes Flat

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In 1983 — as chronicled in Dutch investigative reporter Peter R. de Vries’s bestseller — five financially desperate childhood pals turned to crime, capturing wealthy beer magnate Freddy Heineken (and his chauffeur Ab Doderer) in broad daylight after robbing a bank to fund their operation.

Not to be confused with 2011’s liberties-taking thriller The Heineken Kidnapping (a more ambitious and exciting film, with Rutger Hauer as the abducted mogul), The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest director Daniel Alfredson’s exposition-heavy English-language adaptation boasts an amusingly belligerent Anthony Hopkins as the brew baron and little else.

Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, and True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten co-star in this glossy, lifelessly paced edition as three of the criminals, though their underwritten personas and motivations are fairly interchangeable.

The actual events are fascinating enough to warrant a true-crime series like HBO’s The Jinx — the gang pretend to be Baader-Meinhof-esque radicals to throw off police, and Heineken gave no shits and manipulated his ransomers with his own demands. But here even slow pitches like car chases, armed robberies, and the too-quick resolution get bunted.

We already know Hopkins can chew scenery like a champ, but that’s the low bar set herein.