‘Kidnap’ will grab you and not let go

T.A. MORELAND | 8/24/2017, 4:41 p.m.
Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) tries to make the best of a difficult day, working as a waitress in a coffee ...

Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) tries to make the best of a difficult day, working as a waitress in a coffee shop, dealing with rude and confused customers as her son, Frankie (Sage Correa), waits for her to take him to a carnival. On the ride over, she talks to Frankie about his father —who is her estranged husband —and his new girlfriend.

They arrive at their destination and, while watching some of the activities, Karla gets a call from her lawyer and learns that her husband seeks full custody of Frankie. So she can talk more freely, Karla moves to a quieter location, leaving Frankie alone to continue viewing the performances. When Karla comes back, her son is missing. As she looks for him, she sees a woman dragging him into a Ford Mustang. The car drives away. Karla gets into her van and takes off in hot pursuit. And her valiant efforts to save her son begins.

“Kidnap” is a thrilling, nerve-racking, cinematic adventure, unpredictable while also being highly implausible, with a TV drama feel about it. And it gets a Rent It rating.

First, Berry is amazing. She’s strong, but not in the inauthentic way that Hollywood often portrays its heroes. There’s a lot of self-doubt, but she remains laser-focused on getting her son back.

The casting is excellent. Chris McGinn and Lew Temple, who play the husband and wife backwoods kidnappers, are so despicable. I have always said you cannot have a truly great hero without a truly evil villain.

However, much of the film stretches credibility. When Karla goes to speak to her lawyer and leaves Frankie seated watching the show, he’s surrounded by people but no one sees where he went. And Karla wrestles with the kidnappers in the carnival parking lot full of cars, but no people or law enforcement are around.

Without giving away too much of the story, there are just too many events in “Kidnap” that are highly unlikely.

Set in Louisiana, the cast reflects the makeup of that state that is primarily Black and white, but with a growing Hispanic population. “Kidnap” gets an “A” for cast diversity.

It’s 90 minutes and rated R for violence and peril. You won’t be bored by the story, but there’s nothing compelling about seeing it now. It’s a Rent It.