Starring Mia Maestro, Carlos Madera, Carlos Julio Molina, Pedro Perez, Ruben Blades
Written By: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Directed By: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Studio: Disney/ Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com link
“Secuestro Express” means express kidnapping, the act of kidnapping people for only a few hours to score some quick and easy ransom money from the victim’s family members. While kidnapping is no new thing in Latin America, express kidnapping has become organized and systematic, and, if the director’s comments are accurate, rampant and even epidemic in certain Latin American locales.
This movie takes place in Caracas, Venezuela, “the most dangerous city on earth” (I doubt that), where this crime seems to be routine. It follows a night’s series of events during an express kidnapping, from the perspectives of both gang members and victims.
This is not a pretty movie; it was marketed as an action flick, but any action is gritty realism. There are no “cool” action sequences or car chases or explosions or happy endings here. But it’s also not exploitational while a menacing air hangs heavy over every frame, things never spin too far unrealistically out of control, and the director restrains from sensational, graphic brutality.
There are some flaws with the movie many Ritchie-ish effects are used (quick cuts, high-speed filler edits, split screens, etc.), which do contribute to the uneasy and frantic pace, but are also gimmicky; while the actors do a great job in fleshing them their characters, they still feel stereotypical; and although it is clearly meant to be a message movie, there is no subtlety and it does feel heavy handed, particularly toward the end.
While not of the caliber of City of God or Amores Perros, fans of those movies might be interested in Secuestro Express. For its flaws, it is a gripping and harsh movie that will keep you on edge.
Secuestro Express: The Film & The Facts
The Making of Secuestro Express
Vagos y Maleantes Music Video
Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Jonathan Jakubowicz
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Running Time: 87 minutes