21 DAYS: THE HEINEKEN KIDNAPPING – On DVD and Blu-Ray from 11th March

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21 DAYS: THE HEINEKEN KIDNAPPING aka De Heineken Ontvoering
Dutch and French Language with English Subtitles

In 1983, four young guys decided to make some quick money by kidnapping Alfred Heineken, the brewing magnate of the world famous Dutch lager, and his chauffeur, Ab Doderer. Holding them for a ransom of 35 million guilders (roughly £22 million), they kept the men isolated and imprisoned for three weeks before collecting the ransom and fleeing. 21 Days: The Heineken Kidnapping documents the kidnapping and the subsequent manhunt by the Dutch police and Heineken himself, but also blends fact with fiction for an interesting thriller.

21 Days: The Heineken Kidnapping plays out in such a fashion that the viewer is left with mixed feelings about the kidnapping that ensued. Whilst the men are dastardly for what they did, the youngest of the kidnappers, Rem Humbrechts (played by Reinout Scholten van Aschat), has an emotional, troubled background which explains his anger and hatred towards Heineken. Even in the film, Heineken himself feels he is partly to blame and reassesses his life after he is rescued from confinement. The kidnapping allows Heineken some time to dwell on his personality and the way he treats those closest to him, and though the experience haunts him in the latter half of the film, it has also changed him for the better. We do, however, side with Heineken in his quest to bring the kidnappers to justice, in particular the hot-headed Catholic of the group, Frans Meijer (Teun Kuilboer), and Humbrechts.


21 Days: The Heineken Kidnapping is without a doubt the Rutger Hauer show, with Hauer a perfect choice to play the rich, powerful beer tycoon. Hauer brings out the strengths and weaknesses of Heineken, and in particular plays the scenes well where he is tormented by his kidnappers and wakes up in sheer panic, during the middle of the night, from haunting flashbacks and visions. van Aschat is also fantastic as Rem Humbrechts, who masterminded the initial kidnapping of the tycoon, and has personal reasons why he wishes to break Heineken. The supporting cast do a remarkable job and the whole look of the characters and sets represent the 80’s well.

In the latter third of the film, the setting switches many times, from Amsterdam, to Paris and then Guadalupe. It is in Guadalupe where things really heat up for two of the kidnappers, when they realise the net is finally closing in.

Whilst 21 Days: The Heineken Kidnapping is quite tense and thrilling, there are certain parts that feel a little weak. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it could be down to the sympathies with Rem Humbrechts situation or the lack of pure raging anger from Heineken due to his sensitive demeanor. Nevertheless, it is still an enjoyable movie with lots to keep the viewer engaged and educated regarding the real life kidnapping, even if it has been fabricated for the film.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

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About Bat 4394 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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