Kidnapping

Boiling Point

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, though I’ve never been one to ascribe to that notion. In Hollywood, virtually everything is, at some level, derivative. Hell, not just Hollywood. Virtually every story has been told before, whether it’s comparing the Bible to ancient Egyptian beliefs or Star Wars to The Hidden Fortress. Telling a similar story is okay, hey, there’s only so many ways the good guy can beat the bad guy, right? The details are where the magic happens, and the devil lives. Samurai swords? No. Lightsabers. Transformers are the good guys? How about Transmorphers are the bad guys! However, these are all broad strokes. If we travel further into the script, past plot, past character, past props, we have dialog. Dialog is where the real difference can be made – this is where the magic lives. It’s how a movie like Clerks or My Dinner with Andre or a show like Mad Men can keep you riveted without much going on other than characters talking. But what happens when characters start using the same phrases?

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You’re sitting in your living room when the call comes. It’s a crackle, then a bright tone, then a recorded voice asking if you’ll accept the charges. You agree, and instantly the other end explodes with an angry rasp yelling at you about money and your loved one’s life. If you don’t follow through with the amount they want, they’ll cut off another body part. This is the startling opening to Sequestro, a documentary getting its hands dirty in the big business of disappearances in Brazil. Following the special police force assigned to the epidemic and delivering the heart-shaking details of the families dealing with a father, a mother, a brother, a sister who is in the hands of kidnappers, the film is an insightful look at something nightmarish that exists in everyday life in South America.

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A few months ago, the trailer for The Disappearance of Alice Creed came online and surprised with its stark look at the taking of one young woman. Leave it to a documentary to blow all of that out of the water. Sequestro focuses its cameras on a police force meant to fight kidnapping and retrieve victims in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They shot for four years (or for 386 kidnappings (or for over 1,500 if you count all of Brazil)). Imagine if you were the one who got the phone call.

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Imagine Taken if the young girl who got kidnapped also had a set of special skills and planned on fighting back.

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