My Kidnapper (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/02/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 83 mins

Remarkable documentary, by turns terrifying and moving, though it's frustratingly light on a few key details.

What's it all about?
In 2003, British TV producer Mark Henderson was abducted along with seven other travellers while on a backpacking tour in Columbia and subsequently held for 101 days in the Amazon jungle by armed members of the Columbian resistance movement. A year after his release he received an email from one of his captors and the resulting correspondence eventually lead to him returning to the jungle (along with fellow captives Reinhilt Weigel, Erez Eltawil and Ido Guy) in order to meet his kidnappers.

Co-directed by Henderson and Kate Horne, My Kidnapper tracks this journey (including a lengthy interview with the main captor, whose face remains obscured) and mixes in archive footage and news reports. As such, it's partly a diary of their 2003 ordeal and partly a moving attempt to gain some form of closure.

The Good
The film is extremely harrowing as the four kidnap victims basically relive their ordeal in front of your eyes with the cameras rolling; Reinhilt is visibly distressed for example and admits that her experience has irrevocably changed her. Their story is grimly fascinating and it's impossible not to find yourself questioning what you would have done in the same situation.

The film is also powerfully moving – it says something about how badly everyone (the kidnappers included) needed closure that they were willing to put themselves through this experience. There are also telling hints from Henderson's family and loved ones that this is something he needed to do.

The Bad
Unfortunately, just how much closure is actually achieved by their trip remains unclear, just as the verdict in Reinhilt's hideous court case (the German government sued her for the costs of the rescue helicopter) is left hanging in the air. The film is also frustratingly vague on the kidnappers' motivations in initiating contact in the first place (they don't seem to be actively seeking forgiveness, for example) and it ultimately raises more questions than it answers.

Worth seeing?
My Kidnapper is a gripping documentary that's both moving and terrifying, though it's also frustrating in places. Fascinating story though. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 19/08/2018 02:41

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