“Stolen” (“Stolen Lives”) – 2010. Dir. Anders Anderson.

With Josh Lucas, Jon Hamm, Rhona Mitra and James Van Der Beek.

“He was my friend! I did what he couldn’t!”

“Stolen” focuses on the lives of two men from two different generations with one common link: the disappearance of their sons. In current time, we find Detective Tom Adkins (Jon Hamm of AMC’s “Mad Men”) has lost control of his life over the abduction of his son ten years ago. A small child’s skeletal remains are uncovered in a construction site. The body is not that of Tom Adkins’ son, but of Matthew Wakefield’s (Josh Lucas) son who disappeared more than forty years ago.

The film cross cuts back and forth between Adkins uncovering more facts, and making it his mission to identify the body of the boy and of Wakefield taking his three sons to his wife’s sister’s house after the suicide of his wife. He is in dire need of work and can’t take care of the boys on his own. His sister in-law’s husband is blunt with Wakefield and tells him he’ll only keep two of the boys, not third because he has a slight retardation.

Wakefield then travels to a small town with his young son. He gets a job at a construction yard, and is befriended by Bert Roggiani (James Van Der Beek) and they begin to pal around. A problem arises since Wakefield doesn’t have a place to live or no one to watch his son; his son is forced to hang around the construction yard. The foreman tells Wakefield he can’t have his son hang around or he’ll lose his job. As Wakefield struggles with this new dilemma, his son disappears.

This film isn’t well received on Rotten Tomatoes getting a 0% and IMDb has it rated at a 5.2. I have a hard time understanding why. Yes the film is predictable, and anyone with an above average film IQ can figure the film out by watching the trailer – but still, it is a pretty decent mystery/thriller.

It was interesting seeing Hamm crossover to film, trying to break his typecast as a slick Rock Huson-esq player on the period piece “Mad Men”. I don’t think he’s as good an actor as Josh Lucas, who never made it an A lister, but does turn out good performances (“American Psycho”, “Hulk” – yes it is a pretty bad film). I’ve never seen “Dawson’s Creek” or much of Van Der Beek’s work, but I will forever have a huge man-crush on him for his role as Patrick Bateman’s younger brother Sean in “Rules of Attraction”.

I feel this would have been a much better film if the main focus of the story was on Lucas, and the struggles he had to face, and the extraordinary situations he was put in. The contemporary plot of Hamm investigating the body of Wakefield’s son, while preparing to go to soon to be communed sentence of his son’s “killer” is trying at times. This isn’t a great film, but the three leads give solid performances.

Review: 8/10

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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

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