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July 14, 2015


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Joram Lursen - 2014
Artsploitation Films Region 1 DVD

Reckless is the Dutch remake of the 2009 British film, The Disappearance of Alice Creed. The producer, Frans van Gestel, has been quoted as stating, "Obviously, if you make a remake of a British film, it is not meant to travel around the world. It is meant to work really strongly in the domestic market." While Lursen's version is not a shot-by-shot remake, this version does not deepen or alter the original story. If you've seen the original film, you know what to expect.

What the Dutch version has is Tygo Gernandt in the role of Vic, the part played by Eddie Marsan in the British version. Gernandts hair is shaved to form a V shaped mohawk. His lips are curled, as if he is eternally snarling at the world. This is the kind of face that looks as if has been beaten by the elements as well as opponents' fists. There is hardly a moment when this Vic does not look threatening. Between Vic and his partner in crime, Rico, there is no question as to who is the Alpha dog here.

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I liked the opening montage, with the kidnappers shopping in preparation of the kidnapping, buying a bed to be modified for restraining their victim, duct tape, and sound-proofing material. Most of the action takes place in an empty, abandoned high rise. There is also the sense of emptiness in most of the exterior shots, even in a parking lot filled with cars but no other people. The white van used for the kidnapping is the only vehicle seen moving in the streets. The windows in the kidnappers' apartment are closed, with those of the kidnap victim boarded up, further stressing the idea of a depopulated environment, save for the three characters. The use of lighting in the basement of an abandoned greenhouse, with a golden glow cast on the kidnap victim, Laura, is especially striking.

While I can understand remaking a film for a local audience, especially in a different language, the choice of Reckless for a North American release strikes me as baffling. It's not that this film is badly made, far from it, but there is not enough to make a significant departure from The Disappearance of Alice Creed. The kidnap victim here, played by Sarah Chronis, is a pouty blonde with none of the charm of Gemma Arterton. There is one cultural difference, with the casual nudity of the two men, something that I don't recall from the original film, which telegraphs their relationship as having been more than simply former prison cell mates.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at July 14, 2015 07:05 AM