BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 6, 2010
Do not expect any “Mad Men” performances here. Jon Hamm rests his character of Donald Draper and plays police chief and father to a missing child, Tom Adkins. The story cuts between Hamm’s story and the parallel story that takes place 50 years earlier with Josh Lucas, playing father to three sons, Matthew Wakefield. When Wakefield is forced to split his family, keeping his developmentally challenged son, John, (Jimmy Bennett) as he searches for work in the ’50s, he finds solace with a young man named Diploma (James Van Der Beek). An affair with a married woman named Rose (Morena Baccarin) ends in Wakefield losing his son to a kidnapper. As both stories unfold, separated by several decades, the hopeless fathers come to the same conclusion: the man that took their sons is the same.
“Stolen” (formerly “The Boy In The Box” or “Stolen Lives”) has a compilation of great performances. Jon Hamm broods with the best of them, as his sullen facial features come to life. Having never come across Morena Baccarin before “Stolen,” she comes off stunning and makes the most faithful of men want to experience an affair. Jimmy Bennett gives his undoubtedly best performance as the mentally handicapped son, but still comes off a bit too comical for such a serious piece. James Van Der Beek begins his renewed acting career with a vengeance, finally showing some depth to his pretty boy visage.
Not quite a suspense thriller, not quite a period piece, the film lacks urgency. At no point in the film does it feel like someone’s life is in danger. Having finished the video game “Heavy Rain” for Playstation 3, I could draw the parallels from the film to the game and wished “Stolen” to be more like “Heavy Rain.” In the video game, the son is still alive and a sense of urgency to find the boy carries you through the plot. Being left to wonder whether the father can save the child is better than letting us know halfway through the film there is nothing to hold onto anymore.
The biggest reason to see “Stolen” is strictly for the cast and only a handful of the cast at that. If you are a fan of the television show “Mad Men,” getting to see Jon Hamm‘s acting range adds luster to the film, as well as seeing the renewed James Van Der Beek, showing the world he is no longer Dawson. Josh Lucas and Morena Baccarin deliver pitch-perfect performances and round out a fantastic acting troop. Those who have viewed “Lovely Bones” may find similarities in “Stolen,” with more weight being put on the investigation and reality side, instead of the supernatural side that “Lovely Bones” delves into. Those who are looking for a striking genre piece or stroke-of-genius storytelling would do best to look for it elsewhere.
October 10, 2009
(for a scene of sexuality)
James Van Der Beek