(director: Luis Mandoki; screenwriter: from the novel 24 Hours by Greg Iles/Greg Iles; cinematographers: Frederick Elmes, Piotr Sobocinski; editor: Jerry Greenberg; music: John Ottman; cast: Charlize Theron (Karen), Stuart Townsend (Dr. Will Jennings), Kevin Bacon (Joe Hickey), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Marvin), Courtney Love (Cheryl), Dakota Fanning (Abby Jennings), Colleen Camp (Joan Evans); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mimi Polk Gitlin, Luis Mandoki; Columbia Pictures; 2002)
“An exploitative and upsetting domestic thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An exploitative and upsetting domestic thriller that is based on Greg Iles’ novel “24 Hours.” Director Luis Mandoki(“Stolen”/”Angel Eyes”) adeptly keeps it at a fast pace as he gives the familiar mainstream suspense thriller a nasty contrived twist at the climax.
The 6-year-old Abby (Dakota Fanning), the daughter of the wealthy Dr. Will Jennings (Stuart Townsend) and his textile- designer trophy wife Karen (Cherize Theron), is abducted in her bedroom crib by a husband- and -wife team, the scruffy self-proclaimed genius ringleader Joe Hickey (Kevin Bacon) and his abused white trash wife Cheryl (Courtney Love). Their accomplice is Joe’s overweight, mentally challenged, twitchy cousin Marvin (Pruitt Taylor Vince).
The kidnapping in the Jennings’ up-scale Portland, Oregon home occurs while hubby is away in another city on a business trip. The kidnappers plan to hold the child for 24 hours, then collect on the ransom money. Joe has done four identical kidnappings before, where he got his money and returned the vic alive. But in this job he’s unaware of the girl’s life threatening asthma and need for medication to stay alive, which puts a damper on his plans. While the misfit Marvin keeps watch on Abby at a remote location, Cheryl forcefully entertains Will in his hotel room and the creepy Joe holds Karen hostage at home with the idea of romancing the strong-willed woman. The kidnappers keep in contact every half-hour by cell phone.
Things are reasonably entertaining until a far-fetched finale, in the last 20 minutes, makes everything not believable. It wastes fine performances by its talented cast by turning so rancid and displeasing.
REVIEWED ON 4/5/2017 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/