Stolen Lives

Kidnappings past and present form the crux of the story in "Stolen Lives," a technically polished thriller that grows increasingly dull as the plot wears on.

Kidnappings past and present form the crux of the story in “Stolen Lives,” a technically polished thriller marred by textbook filmmaking that grows increasingly dull as the plot wears on. Featuring Jon Hamm and Josh Lucas (doing what they can with the script’s uninspired dialogue), freshman helmer Anders Anderson’s period-hopping yarn combines two unoriginal ideas in the hopes that the marriage will somehow seem original. At first it does, but soon the lack of imagination makes things feel awfully redundant, no matter how many twists are in store. While theatrical looks iffy, “Stolen Lives” should easily hide its stash in ancillary.

Copper Dave (Hamm) is still obsessed by the disappearance of his son eight years ago. When another child’s body is excavated from a construction site, it contains clues to Dave’s case, even if said corpse dates from the ’50s. Bring on the flashbacks, which tell a parallel story about a struggling single dad (Lucas) watching over his handicapped child (Jimmy Bennett), but obviously not well enough. Sturdy widescreen imagery never takes us anywhere exciting, and the sappy, overused score tries to create emotions where the film itself cannot.

Stolen Lives

Production

A 2 Bridges Prods., A2 Entertainment Corp., Code Entertainment production. (International sales: Arclight Films, Los Angeles.) Produced by Anders Anderson, Al Corley, Josh Lucas, Devin Maurer, Bart Rosenblatt, Andy Steinman. Directed by Anders Anderson. Screenplay, Glenn Taranto.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Andy Steinman; music, Trevor Morris; production designer, Jennifer Spence; costume designer, Lisa Norcia. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 20, 2009. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Jon Hamm, Josh Lucas, Rhona Mitra, Jimmy Bennett, James Van Der Beek, Jessica Chastain, Beth Grant.

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