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Taken (2008) - Film Review

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published February 22nd 2013
The Crude Reality of Parenting and Human Trafficking
Far from being a brilliant film, Taken is not far from reaching cult movie status. Moreover, its financial success has surpassed all expectations, as Taken seems to have followed the trend of North American films financed by producers from all over the world.
Taken movie review
Screenshot from the movie

The film's plot is rather simple. Brian Mills (Liam Neeson), a former CIA agent, whose years spent on missions led to a divorce, struggles to reconnect with his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). The girl now lives with her mother Eleanor (Famke Jannsen) and the latter's husband, who spoils them with overseas trips, expensive present and luxurious overseas trips.
Brian Mills (Liam Neeson)
Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) - Screenshot from the movie

The film starts smoothly and comfortably: Kim wants to go on a trip to Paris, and her father who does not think that a 17 year old should be traveling alone does not agree. Despite his fears, Brian takes his daughter to the airport and asks her to give him a call upon arrival in the French capital.

Taken movie review
Eleanor (Famke Jannsen) and Brian - Screenshot from the movie

Once in France, Kim and her friend Amanda, meet a couple of guys with whom they share a taxi from the airport and who invite them to a party later that evening. Soon after reaching the apartment, they are kidnapped and Brian hears everything through her daughter's cell phone. One of the men finds the phone and during the short conversation that follows, Brian utters in a lion's voice one of those memorable lines that stick to your memory even after you forgot everything about the movie: [if you don't let my daughter go] "I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."

Well, such a speech would scared us all, but not on human trafficking gangster from another end of the world. The rest of the movie follows Brian's adventures to find and liberate his daughter.

Although this is how it sounds, Taken is not solely another action movie featuring many shootings, a lot of fights and car races. There are enough of those, but the real drama lies in the reality of human trafficking. The movie is yet another warning signal referring to a phenomenon that happens every day all around the world. Thousands of women disappear and are forced into prostitution, drugs, turned into profit and sold as consumables. Actually, during Brian's chase, he gets to attend such an auction disguised as a waiter. The scene's final phrase has a very somber and sad connotation. Referring to the girls who were abducted and sold, a robotic voice announces the bidders: "You can retrieve your purchases from the end of the hall."
Taken movie review
Kim (Maggie Grace) - Screenshot from the movie

Although directed by the well known French producer Luc Besson, the movie does not feature all the abstract art and naturalism characteristic to the French cinema. Another good point: the realism with which the whole situation is depicted. The soundtrack is very good, too. It is made up of several electronic pieces, but each one is suitable for the scene it accompanies.

All in all, Taken is not a popcorn movie and it is worth spending an evening watching. A word of advice: watch Taken 2 afterwards. The story goes on.
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