Lifetime’s Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story Managed To Make A Kidnapping Movie Boring

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Lifetime movie Kidnapped The Hannah Anderson Story

Last night Lifetime continued its recent kidnapping obsession and returned to its love of colons with Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story. It was based on the true 2013 kidnapping of a teenage girl by her family friend after he murdered her mother and brother. She was rescued from the Idaho wilderness when her kidnapper was shot and killed by the FBI.

Much of the movie is told in flashbacks to the kidnapping, with the frame narrative being Hannah (Jessica Amlee) doing a TV interview to tell people what really happened and dispel rumors that she and her kidnapper Jim DiMaggio (Scott Patterson — Luke Danes what are you doing?!) were in a relationship and she was somehow involved in the murders. Despite Lifetime marketing the movie as if Hannah's possible involvement would be a huge, mysterious focus of the story, it's pretty much dispelled right from the get-go. That's good news for Hannah herself, who had no involvement in the movie and was unhappy with how it appeared to portray her. But it was bad news for any chance the movie had to be a captivating story.

I'm not saying they should have made Hannah out to be a villain — authorities insisted that she was an unwilling victim — but marketing the movie that way and then not following through on it took away any mystery or suspense, especially since we already knew from the opening of the movie how Hannah was rescued. So when we saw it again at the end of the movie, it was the definition of anticlimactic.

All of this might not have even mattered had the events of the kidnapping been portrayed in a gripping manner. But good lord was it boring. I blame a lot of that on the performances. Jessica Amlee as Hannah acts more inconvenienced by the situation than scared — even when Jim handcuffs her to a chair, threatens to kill her family, and then starts playing Russian Roulette. Most people would be terrified and frantic, but the impression I got was mostly, “Ugh, would you stop?” And Scott Patterson plays Jim as the biggest sad sack around. I don't know if that's what Jim DiMaggio was like in real life, but it certainly doesn't make for a very compelling movie villain.

So how could this all be fixed while still respecting the real people involved and staying true to what really happened? By not making the movie at all. If Hannah had no involvement or approval and it turned out to be a lackluster movie anyway, just make a movie with an original story. Then you can make it as crazy as you want, and it'll be a lot easier for me to make fun of.

(Image: Lifetime)