Blu-Ray Review: ‘Stolen’ Wastes Talented Cast on Melodrama

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CHICAGO – On paper, “Stolen” probably looked like the kind of competent thriller that could get once-rising star Josh Lucas back into the spotlight and prove to producers that “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm could carry a motion picture. Sadly, lackluster direction of what is essentially no more interesting than an extended episode of “Cold Case” squanders the talent of both men, a pair of actors who deserve better showcases. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

Josh Lucas once looked like he’d be the next leading man with roles in films like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Poseidon,” but the last few years haven’t been nearly as kind to the underrated actor as he’s virtually disappeared from the big screen with films like “Peacock” and “Stolen” going straight-to-DVD in most markets. On the other side of “Stolen,” Jon Hamm is just now trying to turn his small-screen success into leading man status. One is in need of a comeback and the other a kickstart. “Stolen” is neither.

Stolen was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 29th, 2010
Stolen was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 29th, 2010
Photo credit: IFC Films/MPI

Based on a true story, Hamm stars as Detective Tom Adkins, a man haunted by the disappearance of his son eight years earlier. When a body of a boy roughly the same age as Adkins’ son surfaces, it starts the Detective on an investigation into a half-century old crime. As he tries to solve the mystery of the boy in the box, “Stolen” flashes back to 1958 and the tale of another father (Lucas) trying to keep his family together but destined to lose his son (Bennett). How is the murder of one son linked to the disappearance of another? Most audiences will have figured it out before all the dots are connected in the final act.

The biggest problem with “Stolen” is the script by Glenn Taranto. In the era of serial mysteries like “C.S.I.” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” audiences have become too smart for generic thrillers like this one. Consequently, if you’re going to make a dual murder mystery interesting, it has to be on a character level, but Taranto is much more interested in the twists than the emotional arcs of his characters. We never get to know anyone in “Stolen” beyond the role they play in the overheated plot. And director Anders Anderson doesn’t have a strong enough visual eye to distinguish “Stolen” from its generic roots.

As for Hamm and Lucas, they’re hampered by having to share leading man status in the same film. Lucas has a few strong moments in the first act of the film as he struggles to economically keep his family together after his wife commits suicide and Hamm delivers mostly in the final act as a father who finally gets the vengeance he so desperately needs but both men are failed by the surface-level script and limited screen time with which to develop their characters. Movie stardom stays just out of reach for both gentlemen but, as with most things they do, there are glimpses of what could be in “Stolen.”

Special Features:
o Behind the Scenes
o Trailer

“Stolen” stars Josh Lucas, Jon Hamm, Rhona Mitra, James Van Der Beek, Jimmy Bennett, Joanna Cassidy, and Morena Baccarin. It was written by Glenn Taranto and directed by Anders Anderson. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 29th, 2010 and is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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The first sign of a poor production was near the beginning with the long hair of the young boy in 1958. The style was more appropriate in the late 60’s or early 70’s. That carelessness was when I realized that this was going to be a dog of a movie.

And I wonder if anyone even looked at this script prior to producing the film. At the end of the movie, in the murderer’s confession, he tells about how he killed the kid. He talks about going to the kid’s favorite tree. There, they watched the fireworks together, and he “snapped his little neck.” The scene was during the day! (fireworks??), plus he killed the kid in front of a crowd of people at the carnival. AND he did the deed, and disposed of the body in the three minutes it took Jon Hamm to use the rest room. The killer was back at his post blowing up balloons by the time Jon Hamm was frantically looking for his son.

Wow. I regretted the hour and a half of my life wasted on what is easily the worst movie ever made.

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