Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is an adaptation of a novel written by crime reporter Peter R. de Vries (who you might know from his involvement in investigating the Natalee Holloway case). This novel is based on interviews he had with Willem Holleeder (in the film portrayed by Sam Worthingthon) and Cor van Hout (ringleader of the gang portrayed by Jim Sturgess with a poorly done dye job of his hair.)
This in itself is an interesting perspective and should at least offer more insight into this kidnapping. However all of the events and characterizations are rushed through. Barely any time is taken to really get to know the main characters or show that there is more to them. At times you would even feel sympathy for them which frankly disgusted me a little since I have read enough about them to know that the real persons are downright nasty and ruthless criminals. Anthony Hopkins as Freddy Heineken was nice but his role was minimal. I would even go so far to say that anyone else could have played the role and it still would not have affected this film in a bad way. It almost felt like a glorified cameo. (If Anthony Hopkins is the reason you are willing to check this film out then do stay clear since you will be very disappointed.) The pace of this film is quite fast and it does not really give you time to notice the flaws and the lack of depth. So believe it or not I actually was not bored once. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is quite decent to be honest. I was prepared for it to be much worse especially after the mostly negative reception to it. But I think the combination of the likable characters, fast pace and the fact that this was based on a real crime (no matter how poorly adapted) at least offers an entertaining film while it lasts.
If you ask me you should not get swayed by the negative reviews. However you do need to keep your expectations in check. This is not a documentary and it is not even based on an objective book. I mean how reliable as a source can the original kidnappers be? Wouldn't they make themselves seem more innocent and likable than they in fact were? The story is kept to the basics and a lot of important details and events have been left out . And therefore I do understand the criticism of expecting and wanting more. These days you do have to stand out a little if you want to impress. And Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is too average for that. Still there are enough moments in the film that will keep your interest.
In my humble opinion it's not a time waster. Perfect for a rainy Sunday.