A Kind of Kidnapping15
It’s difficult not to notice the current state of things in the UK at the moment, with just a trip to your local supermarket causing outrage – five quid for a tub of Lurpak indeed. It’s enough to make you sneak into the breakfast room of a Travelodge and make off with as many of those tiny packs of butter as you can.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Dan Clark’s directorial debut, which he also wrote, was a product of the present cost of living crisis, as it focuses on a young couple struggling to make ends meet.
Young couple Maggie (Kelly Wenhem) and Brian (Jack Parry-Jones) are having a rough ride of it financially, despite the pair of them working; Maggie as a waitress and Brian as a taxi driver.
Maggie has aspirations for bigger things however, as she wants to make it big as an actress. But getting turned down at auditions isn’t helping.
On top of that, the pair get a letter stating that they’re getting evicted, as they have to concede they’ve reached rock bottom.
But after a run in with Richard Hardy MP (Patrick Baladi), who complained about Maggie’s behaviour serving him, which led to her losing her job, the pair see a possible way out for themselves – by kidnapping him.
It’s an audacious plan, but when they end up in a secluded house with Hardy bound to a chair, the couple feel that they could actually pull it off. But do they really have what it takes to go through with it?
Having been involved with TV for a number of years, directing, writing and acting, this is Clark’s first foray into film, and it’s quite a rewarding one.
It’s a black comedy that is deliciously dark, with a number of scenes that may well take you by surprise. There’s also an intimacy to it, with whiffs of a three-hander play, with most of the film taking place in a home they rent on Airbnb.
Clark loses his way with the structure of it at times; he starts off splitting the film up into sections of days, in chronological order, but this disappears completely about half way through, which leads us to believe that it wasn’t necessarily in the first place. Ironically, it’s then replaced by a number of flashbacks that sadly don’t add anything to the plot, especially as everything has already been revealed up front. So in that sense, it’s a little clunky.
He does get some strong performances from his three stars though, especially Baladi as a sleazy politician, no doubt tapping into his character he played in the 2007 BBC drama series Party Animals.
Despite the finale a little on the inadequate side, feeling somewhat rushed and disappointingly open-ended, A Kind of Kidnapping with its flecks of edgy comedy, does enough to hold/bind your attention with a satisfying payoff overall.