Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Taken" - spoiler movie review (and real-life events)

Before I saw the trailer, I saw the one-sheet for "Taken".

Hmmm, intriguing words. And I like Liam Neeson. And then I saw the trailer, and I was definitely in.

Overall, I liked the film, though it's fairly light in plot. Long-absent dad (Neeson) tries to establish a relationship with his teenage daughter (Maggie Grace), which is looked upon with disfavor by his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and with disinterest by her new husband (Xander Berkeley). Because of his government-affiliated work, he's extra paranoid but is eventually persuaded to let his daughter go abroad with a friend. Should have listened to dad, because both girls are promptly kidnapped by a gang who traffic in girls. But not before the daughter is able to tell dear old dad exactly what's going on. Which is what prompts the words on the one-sheet, words that dad tells his daughter's kidnapper. The rest of the movie basically consists of dad looking for his daughter, following leads, and is a fairly typical action movie, except that Liam Neeson is in it. Yeah, he was in "The Phantom Menace" and "Batman Begins", but he wasn't really an action hero sort of guy before.

As you'd expect, the action sequences are fairly spectacular, though there is such an abundance of them that I kind of hit overlord and started watching them on autopilot almost.

In the end, dad of course finds his daughter.

Maggie Grace is fine in the film, though she's really not in it much. She's in the opening sequences, but once she's kidnapped, we see very little of her. They've certainly dressed her down to make her look much younger.

Dad brings daughter a birthday present while mom looks on disapprovingly.

But I did think she did a really terrific job in the apartment, when she realizes that men are taking her friend and they're looking for her next. The scene with her on the phone under the bed was pretty spectacular.

Famke Janssen is ok in the movie - she really doesn't have that much to do. She gets to be snotty as the ex-wife who's done much better for herself and then is devastated to realize the danger she has allowed her daughter to get into. Now, if Phoenix was there instead, those guys who messed with her daughter would have been toast - probably literally.

Xander Berkeley really has very little to do as the new husband, but I still liked seeing him. I miss him in "24".

But of course, the star of the movie was Liam Neeson. He does really well as an action hero guy, and his quiet tones make him all the more menacing. He was fun to watch.

We saw this film several weeks ago, and I enjoyed it, but I didn't really think it was a high-profile film, even with Liam Neeson as the star. But one thing I've marvelled at is how well the film has continued to do. The movie has been out for seven weeks, and in that time, the film has stayed in the top 5 every weekend. To date, the film has grossed about $128,000,000. I'm really just amazed at the staying power of this film, and I really can't begin to explain it.

And had I posted this review shortly after I'd seen the film, or even a week or two ago, that would have been the end of this blog post, how well the film is doing. But today, the success of the film doesn't mean much. I expect Liam Neeson would give back all that success and everything he has to change the tragic events of the past week. Last week, he was a very popular and successful movie star, working on a new film. This week, none of that matters - he's just a husband who has lost his wife, and a father to two teenage boys who have lost their mother. Even the title of this film takes on a painful tinge now, much too close to reality.

My thoughts and prayers and condolences go out to Liam Neeson, his two boys, and the rest of their family.

1 comment:

Bianca said...

I think Famke Janssen was great in the movie Taken even though she doesn't have much parts in the movie. Her character (lenore) was supose to be "snoty" and she played that part very well.