The sluggish thriller Stolen tells the story of one man's guilt over the disappearance of his son and his search for redemption. Detective Thomas Adkins (Jon Hamm) is a workaholic cop tortured by his son’s disappearance. His guilt and despair over the tragedy drive a wedge between Tom and his wife, Barbara (Rhona Mitra), who wants to put the murder behind her and move forward with their lives. After the discovery of a young boy's body buried at a construction site, Tom's investigation leads him to a man named Matthew Wakefield (Josh Lucas), whose mentally disabled son, John, disappeared 50 years prior. What develops are two parallel stories linked by one man, Bert Roggiani (James Van Der Beek), who may hold the key to solving both murders. At times the film is haunting and, at others, mundane and predictable. With a lack of character development and with plot twists that go nowhere, freshman director Anders Anderson struggles to intertwine the two stories, and as a result the film plays out like a clunky murder mystery where the big reveal comes prematurely.
Jon Hamm takes a break from playing a cigarette-smoking advertising executive in Mad Men to star as grieving detective Thomas Adkins, a man obsessed with solving the murderer of his young son, Thomas Jr., who was taken one afternoon while on Thomas Sr.'s watch. Hamm’s stoic presence conveys Adkins’ inner turmoil, but with an underwritten character and a lack of material to work with, it’s difficult for the audience to truly connect on an emotional level with his character. The meat of the film revolves around Matt Wakefield, an out-of-work mason who uproots his life, and his sons, after his wife commits suicide. After dropping off two of his sons with distant relatives, Matt drifts from town to town with his youngest son, John, until he finds a job at a construction site. But when he leaves his son in the car to indulge in a random hookup with a married woman (Morena Baccarin), it results in the boy’s kidnapping and murder. Matthew’s storyline is the most developed, but that’s not saying much considering Josh Lucas’ inability to steer his character’s vacillations between grieving widower and single father, and ultimately his character falls flat.
Stolen was inspired by the true story of the real-life unsolved "Boy in the Box" murder case from the late ’50s and presents itself as a complex psychological thriller, but it plays out like an episode of CSI. Perhaps this is due in part to screenwriter Glenn Taranto's inability to weave the two storylines together with similar themes in a way that maintains the level of suspense necessary to drive this lurid drama.
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- Released: 2009
- Rating: R
- Review: The sluggish thriller Stolen tells the story of one man's guilt over the disappearance of his son and his search for redemption. Detective Thomas Adkins (Jon Hamm) is a workaholic cop tortured by his son’s disappearance. His guilt and despair over the trag… (more)