'Kidnap' Isn't A True Story, But It Feels Eerily Ripped From The Headlines
Halle Berry's latest film, Kidnap, will be out in theaters Aug. 4, and while it may be compared to Liam Neeson's Taken, it's really very different. Sure, the trailer shows Berry's character, Karla Dyson, threatening her son's kidnappers in a Taken-esque speech that includes the lines "Let me tell you something, as long as my son is in that car, I will not stop. Wherever you go, I will be right behind you." But despite being reminiscent of Neeson's iconic speech in Taken, those lines, plus the fact that neither Taken nor Kidnap are based on a true story, is where the two films' similarities end.
While neither movie is a true story exactly, Kidnap's plot, about a mom whose son is abducted, isn't exactly unrealistic. According to the 2016 National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person File, there are 88,040 active missing person entries left over from 2016. Juveniles under 18 account for 38.3 percent of those records, which means that what happens in Kidnap is basically ripped from the headlines. Terrifying, I know. This is one movie whose plot most people would hope is completely unrealistic.
Many aspects of the film are completely fictional, though. In the Kidnap trailer, we see Dyson's son essentially disappear before his mother's eyes, and because she is at the scene of the crime, she immediately takes matters into her own hands. Unlike the moms-of-missing-kids in Changeling (which is based on the real-life Wineville Chicken Murders) or Stranger Things (which obviously isn't based on a true story considering its sci-fi setting), the mother in Kidnap actually sees her son being abducted, and so she begins the action-filled high-stakes car chases which pervade the movie.
What Kidnap does differently from other missing-kid movies is match action with emotion. Berry's character is no coldblooded killer but a mother who's driven by parental instincts and unafraid to drive into cop cars. When she sees the missing children reports that line the police office's walls, she decides to take matters into her own hands, and while that may not be a true story, it's a badass representation of a determined mother.