Movie Review: Netflix's 'Kidnapping Stella' Is A Suspenseful Must-Stream

Kidnapping Stella Tom Max von der Groeben Vic Clemens Schick Stella Jella Haase Netflix
“Kidnapping Stella” is an impressively taut Netflix thriller that's opener conveys the road ahead for this Netflix movie. The chilling vision of two kidnappers preparing to take a victim hostage for ransom fills the opening minutes. Then, they put their plan into action, ripping Stella off the streets in broad daylight.

What happens next is a raw, gritty, and arguably realistic depiction of what would follow in such a situation. Like “Berlin Syndrome,” “Kidnapping Stella” pulls no punches with the nature of its story as two criminals attempt to ransom their victim and get away with the crime.

The Netflix movie takes place in a single location and revolves around three characters with Stella's father an off-screen force, who also moves the story.

As viewers learn more about the two captors, Tom (Max von der Groeben) and Vic (Clemens Schick), and their titular captive (Jella Haase), “Kidnapping Stella” unravels one twist after another. When it comes to this formula, it is done best when implementing the “Red Eye” approach.

You do not want a movie that downplays the intellect of its characters to get them to a certain conclusion. Nor one that gives them unrealistic advantages. The road to the ending has to feel earned and inevitable and “Kidnapping Stella” manages that for the most part. As depicted in “The Strangers,” adrenaline in these situations plays a large role and “Kidnapping Stella” leans into that believably.

If you have seen “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” then “Kidnapping Stella” may seem drastically similar. It is a German-language adaptation of the memorably terrific 2009 British film. However, the two movies diverge quite a bit, giving each one a distinctive edge.

“Kidnapping Stella” picks up in the midst of people's lives and tells a twisty story that involves lots of key details. There is a lot that is left unspoken and open to interpretation, while other things remain more confirmed. An intrinsic sense of urgency and fear pervades the film as viewers are left to wonder how things will play out.

Anchored by three well-executed performances, there is a strong sense of dimension that each actor brings to their role. Making the audience believe they existed before cameras started rolling is crucial in movies such as these, and the intimate cast of “Kidnapping Stella” pulls that off.

A concrete thriller that avoids spinning its wheels is hard to find. Taking the less contemplative route and heading straight for suspense pays off to absorbing results. “Kidnapping Stella” is an engrossing thriller that toys with convention, embracing the subgenre's usual turns, while leveraging enough variances to remain unpredictable. A Netflix movie worth streaming.

Rating: 7.5/10

“Kidnapping Stella” is currently streaming on Netflix.

[Featured Image by Henning Ferber Produktion / Netflix]