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Kidnapped (2024) — Movie Review

Set in 1850s Bologna, Italy, “Kidnapped” is an enthralling narrative that tells the true tale of a Jewish boy, who after an impulsive baptism by a Catholic babysitter, is forcibly taken away from his family by the local inquisitor Father Pier Gaetano Feletti. The storyline, underpinned by a tragic theme, serves as a disturbing reminder of the oppressive Papal States' policy that forbade Christians from being raised by adherents of other faiths. The director, Marco Bellocchio, who is 84, executes this tale with a rich blend of perfect casting, effective screenplay, and authentic direction.

The film provides a disturbingly real account of an event that not only highlights the complexity of human psychology but also provokes essential philosophical questions. Beautifully shot scenes portray the power dynamics of oppression, resistance, and the relentlessness of a family's fight for justice. The film is not only uproarious but equally laced with unsettling moments that question the motivations and actions of the church representatives who handle the case.

Within its engaging narrative, "Kidnapped" critically examines the tragic separation of a Jewish boy from his family amidst the backdrop of 19th-century religious struggles against the corrupt authority of the Church. Events unfold further when the representative of a Jewish newspaper in Bologna stands up against the systemic oppression and demanding justice for the innocent young boy, thereby adding a new layer to the narrative.

Kidnapped (2024) — Movie Review

Despite the powerful presence of the representative of the Church, the film does not resort to the antagonistic portrayal of the religious authorities. Instead, it portrays them as bureaucrats who are clinging onto power under the guise of the Church's religious edicts.

Moody cinematography, heart-stirring orchestral score, and thought-provoking plot make "Kidnapped" an epic tale of the family's unyielding struggle for justice, making it one of the most exciting films of the year. The film successfully portrays the upsetting episode with an element of intrinsic human emotion, showcasing the inner conflict of the characters as they navigate through the complex religious and socio-political landscape of 19th-century Italy.