Director: Anders Anderson
Summary: Investigating the mystery behind the mummified, half-century-old remains of a young boy found in a box at a construction site gives a detective (Jon Hamm) key clues to his own son's disappearance eight years prior.
My Thoughts: "The mystery of the story is good and really keeps you at bay to who has taken/killed these children. But once he is shown, I was definitely surprised. The story unfolds in flashbacks. I found the Wakefield story more interesting then the present one. But there were character's and some scenes that just didn't need to be in the story or just didn't make sense. Like (a previous reviewer mentioned) the gas station couple. He was way to protective over his wife for her to be out late at a bar. Just didn't make sense. I will say the stories are both sad and you feel for the fathers. But Rhona Mitra gave a wooden performance and I found it hard to believe her as a mourning mother. Besides those bit of annoyances, it was a good suspense/mystery film."
It is 1958 and Matthew Wakefield(Josh Lucas) has two days to make a payment on his mortgage or the bank will foreclose on his house. In fact, he does not even have that much time when his wife hangs herself. And then it turns out that his sister Coral(Kali Rocha) can only take in two of his sons, leaving John(Jimmy Bennett) in his care.
"Stolen" might possibly have had a chance at success if it had stayed mostly with solving the 1950's mystery in the present because all we need to know about Matthew is that he is a drifter with a son, along with Jon Hamm nailing the anguish of a grieving parent perfectly. That's not excusing the movie's predictability, rendering it pretty much routine anyway, as this is the kind of movie that is designed to get under the skin of parents by warning them never to turn their backs on their children for a second or else very bad things will happen.(Look, I hate kids, will never have any and frankly don't care.) But blinking is still okay.
There can only be one lesson learned from "Stolen:" Never turn your back on your kid if you haven't taught him to not take candy from strangers. It's almost laughable that a cop's child could be lured away so easily by a creepy old stranger, and it's impossible to believe that a restaurant's patrons wouldn't have noticed their being there. What ever happened to asking the waitress to watch your kid while you go pee?
"Stolen" opens with a distraught Jon Hamm recollecting his child's abduction in an interrogation room. He delivers a quiet, heart-wrenching monologue that proves his exceptional talents beyond the juggernaut that is Don Draper. He plays Tom Adkins, a man without a child who clings to hopes that he still maybe alive. He is a cop too and has a wife that has grown away from him. The movie fails to clarify whether she's the biological mother, but she is all too ready to move on and threatens her husband to do the same, or else. Because of the Swiss-cheese script, it's hard to sympathize with her and you end up disliking her for all the unnecessary anguish she puts her husband through.
Tom is summoned to examine a skeleton buried at a construction site. The skeleton posses eerily similar features to his son and he believes its his until a corner's report reveals that the child is over fifty years old and had a mental disability. We flash backwards fifty years and follow the story of that child and his tragically tragic tale.
The boy's name is John and his disability varies for the convenience of the plot. His father, played by Josh Lucas in another lackluster performance, lost everything and has to move out of his home after a string of bad luck. He takes his three boys to a farm and has to take John somewhere else because his kinfolk don't wanna take in no retarded boys. John's father finds work and trouble a few towns down the road. He rudely flirts with a gas attendant's hot wife and ends up on the wrong side of that gas attendant's gun. His kid becomes a quick chore at work, so he has to find another place for him to stay. One night, he decides to leave his kid in his car while he gives into the temptations of the gas attendant's wife. His kid ends up kidnapped and its revealed that he was killed by a familiar face off-camera. The big reveal is predictable because only one character's head could possibly look like that in a hat.
The movie's narrative moves back and forth between Tom's, John's, and John's father's stories. When Tom finds a clue, we flashback in time and every time we experiences a new revelation, we flash forwards to the present time. These scenes work well as we view an object in close-up and it transports us through time--A small scene with a piece of aging wood was a nice touch.
"Stolen" has a decent style and is well directed in parts. It boasts a great cast with a strong supporting performance by an underused Jessica Chastain. However, the movie lacks focus and doesn't connect the multiple stories as well as other films have done in this genre-- for over half the film, I thought Jon Hamm's character was one of John's brothers, I'm sure I'm not alone. They completely forget about closing John's father's story arch which is a prominent example of lazy film making. The cumulative result is highly underwhelming and feels like its a part of a different movie altogether.
John Hamm's "Tom" is a character that deserves a better movie. He's great and his final interrogation scene rivals his powerful, bulldogging performance in "The Town." He's proven he can play different characters, each as convincing as the next, but his talents are levels above this film.