Kidnap is the kind of movie that might be impressive as an entry in one of those 48-hour film competitions, or if we found out it was written by an 11-year-old and improvised in an afternoon. Walking out, I overheard a group of women joking that Halle Berry must’ve been making up her own dialogue. It really feels like that, like a hurried rough draft, more unparsed daydream than story. You know how Mark Wahlberg once said in an interview that if he’d been on that plane, 9/11 never would’ve happened? Kidnap is like that, but if someone had watched a particularly sensational episode of 48 Hours and thought to themselves “That’s not how it woulda went down if I was that mom!”
Halle Berry plays Karla Dyson, a Hollywood average (read: preposterously beautiful) single mom who waits tables at a diner — apparently the only job available to Hollywood average single moms. It’s sad, really. Karla takes her adorable post-toddler to the county fair in New Orleans, where they live, and, spoiler alert, he gets kidnapped. Karla sees her little boy being pulled into a crappy car by a pair of overweight Walmart rednecks, and we’re off on a bizarre road chase.
I say bizarre because the defining features of this chase are 1) being ridiculously overdirected, with seven different angles of Halle Berry driving a car cut together for some reason, and with junior-high-artsy canted angles on the exterior car shots, and 2) Halle Berry talking to herself. Halle Berry talking to herself may be this film’s most memorable feature, though not in a good way. She’s always coaching herself, but not saying anything interesting, like she’s surprised to be in this movie. (“What do I do, what do I do!” “I’m going around you, you son of a bitch!”) It’s relatable, because we are also surprised she is in this movie.