Take the Night is a 2022 film directed and written by Seth McTigue and starring Roy Huang and Brennan Keel Cook. The plot follows a group of criminals who are hired to stage a fake kidnapping as part of an elaborate birthday prank. However, things take a dark turn when the criminals begin to act on their own agenda. Take the Night is a suspenseful thriller that will keep audiences guessing until the very end. In a review published by Variety, they praised different aspects of the film and wrote, “They adequately pull off a New York City-set story that was actually shot in Los Angeles, while editor Todd McTigue’s pacing is airtight. Jonas Wikstrand’s original score does a nice job underpinning the story’s tonal mix of criminal intrigue, mystery, discordant relationships, and hidden sentimental loyalties.” If you enjoyed the thrill and plot of Take the Night, here are five action movies with similar themes that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The 1997 American thriller film The Game, directed by David Fincher, also involves brothers and a birthday that takes a complex turn. It stars Michael Douglas as a wealthy investment banker who is given a mysterious gift by his brother: participation in a game that integrates in strange ways with his everyday life. As the game progresses, the banker’s life begins to unravel, leading him on a thrilling and dangerous journey. It becomes clear that the stakes are much higher than initially thought and that the player may not be able to exit the game safely. The film explores themes of reality and illusion, morality and greed, and the role of chance in our lives. The Game is a suspenseful and provocative film that will leave viewers chewing over its mysteries long after the credits have rolled. RogerEbert.com wrote a review of the film and praised Douglas’ performance saying, “Douglas is the right actor for the role. He can play smart, he can play cold, and he can play angry. He is also subtle enough that he never arrives at an emotional plateau before the film does, and never overplays the process of his inner change.”
The 2018 American action comedy film Game Night has a similar plot to Take the Night but with some humor added to it. It is directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. The film stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a couple who host a game night for their friends, only to find themselves caught up in a real-life mystery when one of them is kidnapped. The film’s supporting cast includes Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, and Kyle Chandler. The New York Times published a review of the film giving particular praise to its cast members, especially Adams’ performance saying, “And all the cast members — particularly the friends and neighbors played by Chelsea Peretti, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris and Jesse Plemons (who, as an uptight cop, delivers a deliberately robotic idea of a Matt Damon impersonation) — are very funny when they get the opportunity to be. And the movie is a pointed reminder that Ms. McAdams is one of cinema’s most accomplished and appealing comic actresses.”
Another movie involving a kidnapping gone wrong is the 1996 black comedy crime film Fargo, written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and stars Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, and Harve Presnell. The film begins with a desperate car salesman hiring two criminals to kidnap his wife in order to extort a large ransom from her wealthy father. The kidnapping goes awry, and the resulting murders catch the attention of pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson. As she investigates the case, she discovers that the criminal underbelly of Fargo, North Dakota is far more treacherous than she could have imagined. The Coen brothers masterfully weave together dark humor and brutal violence to create a tense and unforgettable crime thriller. Frances McDormand gives an Oscar-winning performance as Marge Gunderson, one of the most nuanced and memorable characters in modern cinema. Fargo is a must-see film for any fan of great filmmaking. The Guardian gave a five-star review of the film and wrote, “David Lynch might have told the story of Fargo by making it unsolved and insoluble; Quentin Tarantino might have explained the sudden spasms of violence by making the culprits ingest a lot of cocaine or crack. The Coens make it more realist and more humanly sympathetic, and McDormand is perfect in the role.”
All The Money In The World
All the Money in the World chronicles the events surrounding the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III and the refusal of his grandfather, J. Paul Getty, to pay the ransom demands. The movie begins with a brief history of the Getty family, focusing on J. Paul Getty’s acquisition of a majority stake in the family oil business. We then see John Paul Getty III as a carefree teenager living in Rome with his mother, Gail Harris. The film follows the young man’s kidnapping and his grandmother’s subsequent efforts to secure his release. While the film is fiction, it is based on real events and includes actual footage of J. Paul Getty and his family. As such, it offers a fascinating glimpse into one of the world’s most powerful dynasties amid a real-life crisis. In a review by Empire, they commended the themes portrayed in the film, saying, “As a thriller, it’s consistently gripping, if sometimes a smidge reliant on cliché. As a study of how cold, hard cash can make a man’s heart cold and hard itself, it’s terrific. Scott and Plummer, meanwhile, deserve plaudits for their 11th-hour gambit.”
Burn After Reading
Burn After Reading is a black comedy spy film that centers around a group of hapless individuals who come into possession of a leaked CIA memo. John Malkovich plays Osborne Cox, a disgruntled CIA analyst who is forced into early retirement. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand are gym employees who scheme to blackmail Osborne after they stumble upon his memoirs on a disk left behind in the locker room when they mistake the memoirs for classified government documents. What follows is a ludicrous series of events in which everyone’s lives begin to unravel. The Coen brothers expertly blend comedy and suspense to create a film that is both darkly funny and completely riveting. Common Sense Media published a review of the film praising its direction and lead performances, saying, “The brothers have assembled an incomparable cast, mixing up a potent dark comedy potion. Start with Pitt (as funny as he’s ever been), then add a dash of Swinton, a swig of Clooney, and plenty of Malkovich for good measure. But it’s really McDormand who owns the film; Linda is so desperate and yet so likable that the madness she cooks up is almost palatable.”Rachel McAdams
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