Film Review: KIDNAPPING STELLA (Germany 2019)

Kidnapping Stella Poster

Snatched off the street and held for ransom, a bound and gagged woman uses her limited powers to derail her two masked abductors’ carefully laid plans.


Thomas Sieben

KIDNAPPING STELLA is a remake of the British neo-thriller J. Blakeson’s 2009 THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED where a young woman is kidnapped by two ex-convicts, one of them her ex-boyfriend.  The original had superlative reviews especially in the acting category though it did not make much at the box-office.

KIDNAPPING STELLA is a Netlflix original film from Germany but a remake of the above described British film with a few changes.  The film still fails to deliver in either the thriller or drama mode.

As the film is playing on Netflix, viewers have the option of watching it in the original German version with subtitles or dubbed English.  The former is definitely then preferred choice as the dubbing is bad with the mouth synching and the words clearly out of place.

Kidnapping films often have as a subplot the Stockholm syndrome where the kidnapped falls in love with the kidnapper.  The opposite is true for KIDNAPPING STELLA.  A  woman named Stella (Jella Haase) daughter of a wealthy businessman is kidnapped by the men.  The two men are opposites in personality – obviously for a film script to be more workable.  In the original British version, the men are called Vic and Danny.  In KIDNAPPING STELLA Danny is renamed Tom.  One wonders at this odd choice of changing one name and not the other.  The synopses of both films are very similar, which goes to prove that  it is the making of the movie and not the story that makes the big difference.  It is interesting to note that ALICE CREED’s director Blakeson co-wrote the script with KIDNAPPING STELLA’s director Sieben.  Vic (Clemens Schick) is a vicious unsympathetic monster apparently the brains of the kidnapping while the other, Tom (Max von der Broeben) is a kinder more fumbling man.  When the latter allows Stella to go do a number 2, she unmasks him and Stella is shocked to find the unmasked her former boyfriend.  Apparently, they had a falling out of a relationship.

KIDNAPPING STELLA is nothing really exciting or entertaining.  The suspense is lacking.  The script contains false alarms like the threat of cutting off Stella’s finger when the father refuses to pay the ransom, but the threat is never realized.  One wonders the reason how these two men so different decide to come together to do the job.  When the trust between them breaks down, the story bears more credibility.

Though a German film, there is nothing specific that makes the film German.  It could be set in a any other country in the world, thus making the suspense thriller generic and less interesting.  The original was shot in the Isle of Man.  The film picks up a bit during the last 30 minutes with the story taking a few twists and turns.  

The acting is nothing short of spectacular and each actor appears to be just going through the motions.

There is one final twist at the end of the film but unfortunately by that time, no one really cares what happens.

The film has recently opened two weeks back and is still playing on Netflix.


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