Secuestro Express - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Secuestro Express Reviews

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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
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?s 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 exposé 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 clichéd movie 2 stars or less not recommended
July 22, 2009
The ultimate anti-travelogue for Caracas, which will leave you never asking a Venezuelan policeman for directions, deals with the peculiar Latin American custom of express kidnapping, especially prevalent in Venezuelan cities. A yuppie couple spills out in the early morning hours after a night of intense substance abuse only to fall prey to a gang of express kidnappers whose various motivations range from venal to borderline altruistic. The action takes place over part of a single day in this gritty, hyper-realistic and certainly never dull film. Highly recommended.
June 21, 2009
very disturbing...is this what is happening in latin america today?
½ 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
May 27, 2009
not your date movie. breathe taking suspense and twist and excellent cinematography, script and bone chilling reality in a pop-corn size movie hour.
May 26, 2009
Could have been better. Disturbing enough. A potential synopsis however being ruined by the overdone, flaunting & pretentious techniques- bad, dizzy camera-handling; plus the absolutely annoying, noisy, non-stop dialogue.
Super Reviewer
May 14, 2009
A night on the town turns into a night of terror for two yuppies in Caracas. Their sin is not in having money, but in flaunting it. The tension starts out at a fever pitch and continually ratchets up. Handheld cameras, scenes shot in near darkness, and dialog that trips over itself with sometimes three or four speaking at once, but that only adds to the pressure until the lid has to blow. Only the uniform separates the criminals from the "good" guys. Corruption reigns and a little taste is all that is needed to get them to look the other way. A powerfully affecting film that will keep one guessing right up to the somewhat curious end. Four stars.
May 3, 2009
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April 5, 2009
decent kidnapping movie from Venezuela. pretty grim look on reality.
April 2, 2009
in your face and real
March 27, 2009
weak copycat.
better watch some tarantino movie. more original
½ February 7, 2009
A gritty movie about kidnapping and the gap between the 'have's' and the 'have not's' in South America (Caracas). Nothing fancy, nothing hyped, just well done.
½ February 3, 2009
What a nice and exciting movie, check it out - South America for reel.
January 31, 2009
quite disturbing, brings back memories..
shesdownbytheriver
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2009
No thankyou - Not interested.
December 11, 2008
nothanks not my kinda thing
December 5, 2008
This is a painful and disturbing movie to watch. At the same time, there's a fascination with Caracas. What a fiery city to look at. Unique architecture and an urban world that is twisted with political upheaval, extreme poverty, religious fear, homophobia, apathetic wealthy upper class, and a weak middle class trying to make sense of this city's tensions.

I normally do not find horror films frightening. What does frighten me is the very thought of living in an environment that I have no control over and where peace does not have a chance.

Director Jonathan Jakuowicz attempts to create this world and successfully scared the living crap out of me. But I am not completely convinced either.

The movie begins with a stunning panoramic potrait of Caracas, Venezuela beginning with a chaotic looking slum region with homes precariously piled on top of one another like dung on fault like hills and mountains and then it takes you to the skyscrapers of the city center.

Then the movie goes right into a chilling scene where a kidnapper look directly at you, the viewer, into the camera, and says, "you're going to play Russian Roulette Venezuelan style. You're the only one playing, and you're gonna keep playing until you are the winner."

The movie makes you feel as if you've been kidnapped by thugs from slums but it also makes you feel the grotesque conditions of these poor areas.

All in all, I found the movie to be painful, depressing, and disturbing. It's definitely a movie I wouldn't care to want to see again.

I have problems with this movie "being an attempt to begin a dialogue between the poor and rich to address the manic socio-economic condition n this city" which, according to the director in his commentary amounted to 14,000 murders/year.

The style of this movie was very reminiscent of Greengrass'es "United 92" movie. Lots of hand held close up footage violently unstable and blurred by the fast flow of filming. In a sense, there's also a sort of cliche about this movie of trying to show the "meanest district" in the world. We saw that Boys in the Hood, etc. etc. That made the film less horrific and reminded me of a discussion I once had with a man from Manchester. I was telling him of how dangerous certain areas of Los Angeles were, and he sarcastically retorted, "what? you mean they carry guns and car jack people? well, we all carry two guns and pocket knife in Manchester, even the nurses..." His point being, "So what? If you're already scared, you won't even have a chance of survival in a church."

They can be sad and frightening, but they also tend to over accentuate violence.

I had issues with one aspect in the movie, the most violent character who practically rapes Elba Escobar's character comes off in the beginning as if he is some family man as plays with his baby before committing this horrific kidnap. It wasn't believeable to me because the character is clearly a crack addict and crack addicts do not have a soul or conscious and had a child been in his arms, that child would have been dead a long time ago.

The movie tries to hard to combine all of the ugliness of Caracas and imply that the city is that horrible. This same story could be told in Los Angeles or Mexico City, and even East Oakland. The poor are always going to rebel with crime in the face of a government that does little to remedy the condition.

I guess I'll keep this movie at 4 stars because it effectively creates a strong reaction.
November 25, 2008
Better than expected!
November 8, 2008
Was a really gripping movie about what victims of kidnappings go through. Was a rather harrowing experience.. to watch & to imagine being in the shoes of the kidnap victims. The kidnappers were vicious.. & were a mixture of reasonable dudes.. & psychopaths. great watch.. I now fear kidnapping.
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