wed 19/06/2024

A Kind of Kidnapping review - claustrophobic class-division satire | reviews, news & interviews

A Kind of Kidnapping review - claustrophobic class-division satire

A Kind of Kidnapping review - claustrophobic class-division satire

Wannabe crooks pick the wrong hostage in topical comedy of errors

Clueless kidnappers: Kelly Wenham and Jack Parry-JonesBulldog

A Kind of Kidnapping is a low-budget British comedy with a neat premise and satirical view of class and politics in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

A young couple struggling to make ends meet and facing eviction from their squalid flat come up with a plan to strike pay dirt by kidnapping a sleazy Tory politician. The only snag is the MP’s wife is so thoroughly sick of his lying and cheating that she declines to pay the ransom, leaving the bungling crooks with a problem – and a hostage – on their hands.

The best thing about this film written and directed by DG Clark (How Not to Live Your Life) is Patrick Baladi’s lovably oleaginous performance as Richard “Hardline” Hardy (pictured below), the morally bankrupt Tory who spots a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise his profile with the electorate. (“Four million hits!” he marvels as the kidnap video racks up views on YouTube.) At which point the story takes an ironic turn that goes way beyond “Stockholm Syndrome”.

A Kind of KidnappingHardy’s kidnappers are out-of-work actor Maggie (Kelly Wenham) and her boyfriend Brian (Jack Parry-Jones), a taxi driver who is studying computer programming part-time. Across the social divide their barbed exchanges with the hostage hit some topical targets. (“Are you one of my constituents?” Hardy asks Maggie. “Did the PM send you?”).

As with Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy or Sidney Lumet’s’s Dog Day Afternoon, it’s the underlying tension in the relationship between the wannabe crooks that comes to the fore as the crime itself unravels.

Appropriately, the film has a rather claustrophobic feel. Most of the action takes place inside the plush country AirBnB used as a hostage hideout. And, in a way, that’s why there’s no going back for Jack and Maggie once things go belly up. Rather like the film’s producers, the kidnappers have blown all their cash on this single location.

Nevertheless Clark is a talented director who delivers more than just a clever set-up with A Kind of Kidnapping. His characters are both plausible and surprising, and he comes up with several intriguing plot points, even if the dialogue itself could be sharper and less reliant on swear words for effect.

“I’m just a bit sad that’s all over,” says Hardy as freedom finally beckons – which may or may not be a sentiment shared by the film’s audience at the end credits. But as for how far lying and cheating will get you as a Tory politician, Clark and Baladi keep the best twist to last.

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