Kidnapped ★★★½

Home invasion films get a little too scary for me. It has no entertainment worth nor the merit to do so and you know how home invasion films fade to black or simply stop in their track while you're staring at the screen in sheer disbelief.

The synopsis said the family fights back and they do. Even then I was uncomfortable since the opening scene, which is shot in one long take (like most of the film) and reminds the viewer of the opening credits from 'Once Upon a Time in the West, 1968'. Not when Henry Fonda and Leone shocked the world but the sequence before that, with a single fly buzzing around a man's head.

Director Miguel Ángel Vivas films the bloody narrative in a distinct and a bold style, using innovative editing where the passage of time is echoed between characters with the use of split screen and the cine-dolly that smoothly navigates the crazy coke-highs and violent outbursts of the bad guys' intentions.

The stress on real-time makes the viewer feel more for the victims even though the character building is done and is swiftly over with as we are introduced to a conventional upper-class family that itself is being introduced to a new habitat by shifting houses. It is when the split-screen merges after an extremely long take that you find yourself drained and exhausted of quite a few sensibilities and the faculty of discerning morality is suddenly snatched from your arms.

The film keeps getting insanely intense as the invaders talk in a foreign language and not Spanish. The Albanian dialogues do not have subtitles and it makes the viewer uncomfortable as the father leans in closer to listen and is then violently pushed back in his place.

The film and Vivas want the viewers to become completely immersed in his narrative and he succeeds although leaving us at a crossroads of sorts that asks whether this genre ever turn tables like it did back in the Seventies or will the new breed of post 9/11 directors keep rattling our nerves with live footage of a plane flying straight into a building or the new-found mass infatuation with pictorial-war-journalism.

God help us.

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