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Secuestro Express Reviews

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May 1, 2014
Gritty look at the realities of rich, poor and crime in South America, and the kidnapping for profit industry, as well as the police corruption problem. Well filmed with good camera work and a good, fast, and well-acted script.
April 11, 2013
Studying up on Caracas before I go there soon
January 21, 2013
Unfortunately, very violent... more emotionally than physically... sad how this goes on in Latin America.
March 3, 2012
As a film, it's fast-paced thriller. As a social commentary, it's just plain shallow.
February 27, 2012
Absolutely not my type of film, but very real and presents an interesting topic.
February 18, 2012
It'd be better if it didn't try to moralize kidnapping and class warfare.
April 29, 2011
This what we lives here in Venezuela. There's a "normal" feeling about this because it happens very often
December 2, 2009
Carla: Listen. I work in a clinic without resources for the poor everyday... doing what I can to help poor children. And you treat me this way. Trece: Fuck, who told you to drive around in a brand new car? You think I can guess who you are? Carla: Why is having money a sin? My father's worked hard all his life. Trece: That's not the point. I have money too. Carla: What is it, then? Trece: Don't look at me like that, OK? Don't look at me like that, or I'll lose it. Point is... Carla: Yes? Trece: When half city is knee-deep in shit, and you're rolling in a expensive car. Shit, how you expect them not to hate you? Huh? Why shouldn't they hate you? Look at your outfit, look at this... [points at her clothing and jewerling] Trece: . Do you know how many families that shit could feed? Huh? One thing is that we're different. Great, I get that. But rubbing your money in people's face is another. Carla: But everyone gets robbed here. Trece: But not all with the same hatred.
Karlos O.
October 4, 2010
Shows the reality of us Venezuelans
rafael t.
September 16, 2010
i am from venezuela, so let me say tough this practice is very common down here but still, this movie is stereotyped, heavily influenced by politics, the language that they use is over the edge, i know that in caracas that's how they speak but they way overused it... i mean every police officer, military, taxi driver, and others is corrupt and criminal in this movie. off course you see drug traffic, sodomy, and all the cliches related to latin america. you have the cliches to kidnapping movies too: there is a sadist rapist guy, and there is a kind of good guy who does it for the needs. little bit of stockholm syndrome...

Ruben blades doesn't even bother to try and imitate the venezuelan accent he just plays ruben blades rather than a character...
The director desperately try to rush visuals with cheap tricks and poor edition...

mia maestro its the higlight of this movie when it comes to acting, the kidnappers had some highlights when they show some tridimension.

it's sad to me that they portrayed our people in this manner, and worst of all it's this movie did good in box office here so... just celebrates criminal lifestyle and denigrate the work of many good filmmakers that just can't get the money to shoot their projects...

Me da mucha pena que personas de Venezuela se presten para retratar a nuestra gente de esta manera.
June 24, 2007
Average. It's a good insight into the world of kidnapping in Venezuela, yes, but it's not very substancial as a film. And Mia Maestro can't act.

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2010
This is a movie about kidnapping first and foremost, but it is also a strong commentary on the ongoing struggle between the have and the have nots.

The story kicks off quickly when a rich young couple is kidnapped without warning outside of a drug store. The kidnapping scene is done very well. If there is any excuse for using DV it is the type of hand held quick shots the director gets while the couple is being taken. I've never been kidnapped but I feel like this is what it would be like. No overly clever threats just quick and decisive action. Shut up, don't look at me, and a pistol whip to the mouth the second i think you're looking. The three kidnappers all have distinct personalities that are at times contradictory to each other and with the whole act of kidnapping. This adds to the realism in a huge way. One of the assailants is particularly protective of the girl which becomes a theme throughout the film.

As the movie rolls onward the use of DV becomes less noticeable and actually begins to seem appropriate because we do tend to think of video as being "real". The cinematographer should be commended on his excellent use of color. Almost every scene is alive with brilliant hues that contrast wildly. I am not sure if this was done in some way to evoke the thematic idea that the rich and the poor live so close yet are so different, or if it is simply eye candy to savor. Either way it accomplishes that goal.

This is a film full of sudden plot twists and because it is a continuous story told in a 1 to 1 step with reality it seems we are literally experiencing every moment of the ordeal with the characters. Violence erupts from nowhere and you get the feeling that this is a lawless place where the kidnappers really are in control. By the end of the movie I would certainly think twice before exploring south America without a desert eagle and suitcase of cash.

Overall this a gritty movie that paints a realistic portrait about kidnapping in south America. there is nothing glamorous or pretty about it and thats what works so well here particularly in concert with the grainy DV look. Maybe the only aspect of the movie I had a problem with wasn't even so much individual to the movie itself. It is more the idea that the kidnappings are justified simply because the wealthy are wealthy. This movie is so well designed as documentary on a kidnapping that it doesn't leave time for us to really see the living conditions of the kidnappers. Therefore it is very difficult for me to make the logic jump that If I was in their position I would probably become a kidnapper as well. There will always be the haves and the have nots, but I would venture to say that violence, greed, and sadism are independent of financial status. They are simply the consequence of being human and we have to live with that as best as possible.

"Secuestro Express" is a neat little twisty thriller in the exaggerated style of gritty British crime dramas like "Layer Cake," with a pointed political and social overlay.

Using swooping, in-your-face close-up cameras, limited narration and dossier-style on screen character and time descriptors, writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz, in his full-length fiction debut, captures a docudrama feel to make the kidnapping of a young, lighter-skinned couple by a motley group of "nigros" (darker-skinned) thugs, with a variety of psychological and financial motives for doing this "work", a commentary on class in Latin America, specifically in Caracas, Venezuela.

The individuality of all the characters, including the criminals, adds to the explosive unpredictability as stereotypes of Latin American culture are ironically skewered, including oligarchies, macho men, religion and sensuality, as each person uses political and class rhetoric to justify greed, selfishness and condescension on all sides.

Drugs are caustically shown to have pervasively corrupted and enthralled all levels of the society through a harrowing picaresque exploration of "the ghetto" (as the subtitles translated the geography).

The acting is excellent, particularly Mía Maestro, of TV's "Alias," who goes through an entire spectrum of emotions. Jean Paul Leroux as her boyfriend "Martin" is very good at shifting gears as our sympathies shift around him.

The song selection felt very atmospheric and the soundtrack kept the tension ratcheted up.

In a night pregnant with a strange mix of tension and dizzy abandon, lovers Carla and Martin prowl clubs before drunkenly wandering back to his car. While he comes across as crass nouveau riche, she appears more liberal. Their conspicuous affluence, however, makes them ideal targets for kidnappers, and the trio of Trece, Budu and Niga gets a bead on them and promptly sweeps them up at gunpoint. The kidnappers then demand $20,000 to be delivered in two hours. Carla phones her rich father Sergio to procure the money, but chaos soon ensues. A botched ATM robbery is followed by a stopover at the palatial estate of a gay drug dealer.
November 25, 2009
Secuestro Express (2004) "Kidnapping Express," the title refers to a thriving but deadly abduction business to which many poverty-stricken Latin Americans have turned as a means to secure quick cash. . Set over a period of about 10 hours in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, the movie is relentlessly sweaty, menacing and violent. In a night pregnant with a strange mix of tension and dizzy abandon, lovers Carla and Martin prowl clubs before drunkenly wandering back to his car. While he comes across as crass nouveau riche, she appears more liberal. Their conspicuous affluence, however, makes them ideal targets for kidnappers, and the trio of Trece, Budu and Niga gets a bead on them and promptly sweeps them up at gunpoint. The kidnappers then demand $20,000 to be delivered in two hours. Carla phones her rich father Sergio to procure the money, but chaos soon ensues. A botched ATM robbery is followed by a stopover at the palatial estate of a gay drug dealer. For these ghetto residents, this is a class war in which the rich must pay for their selfishness and lack of charity. The film, written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz and shot on digital video, uses a variety of horribly non effective cinematic gimmicks. extreme close-ups, superfast zooms. jarring speeded-up and slow-motion scenes. Drug usage constantly. Split-screen segments, here cleverly horribly bore us with the simultaneous actions of people located in setting of the car. More exploitation than expose, Secuestro Express is a crass kidnap thriller that turns a social problem into an excuse for sleazy spectacle. The film seems less interested in dramatizing the inequities of that Venezuela but rather giving us up hefty doses of sadism and titillation. The film is the worst advert ever for the Venezuelan tourist board. This terrible film depicts a nation up to its neck in drugs, violence and corruption. Secuestro Express doesn't go much further than spitting out character types (poor little rich girl, thief with heart of gold) and reminding us of Caracas's class differences. The late-night abduction by three scumbags becomes an 88-minute ordeal for the audience. It is a great critique about the divide between rich and poor in Latin America. In other words, capitalism's to blame for these everyday kidnappings. Secuesto Express is not an easy film to watch with its eruptions of violence and venom. This grim tone means Secuestro Express won't appeal many, but this film isn't supposed to make anyone comfortable - it works as much as an expose of these shocking everyday kidnappings and the socio-political reasons why they happen as it does a piece of standalone storytelling. That, in itself, does not a good movie make. This film fails on almost every level. The jumpy hand-held photography only caused me a headache. Secuestro Express is just as disturbing as its producers' past films - Sin City and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. But while these films inundate viewers with elaborate gun battles and excessive gore, Secuestro Express is intense in its suggested violence . Boring cliched movie 2 stars or less not recommended
June 6, 2009
puzzling movie was not sure what the point of it all was but i am guessing this is what goes on in south america amongst the poor and hopeless
March 27, 2009
weak copycat.
better watch some tarantino movie. more original

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2009
No thankyou - Not interested.
December 11, 2008
nothanks not my kinda thing
October 17, 2006
Better than expected!
May 20, 2008
Reason: sounding okay.
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