You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tribeca Film Review: ‘Take Me’

A kidnapping role-playing scenario turns bizarrely twisted for both abductor and abductee in Pat Healy’s droll crime comedy.

Taylor Schilling, Pat Healy, Alycia Delmore, Jim O'Heir.

In the history of bad ideas, entrepreneurial or otherwise, perhaps none has ever been worse than that of Ray Moody (Pat Healy), who earns his living providing kidnapping role-playing scenarios for clients interested in confronting personal issues or acting out deviant fantasies. Ray’s wannabe-therapeutic business predictably leads to trouble in “Take Me,” star Healy’s nimble directorial debut, which exploits its screwy premise for both unnerving laughs and volatile thrills. Tailor-made for a cult following, it should be eagerly snatched up by audiences after its Tribeca film festival premiere.

Having relocated from Atlantic City to Los Angeles due to a shady past incident involving his ex-wife, Ray finds banks unwilling to financially commit to his Kidnap Solutions, LLC, which he claims “helps people,” such as an early, overweight client (Jim O’Heir) who uses a seizure scenario to overcome his fast-food eating habits. Forced to secretly borrow cash from his brother-in-law, Ray’s dwindling fortunes take a turn when he receives a call from a sexily breathy woman claiming to be Anna St. Clair (“Orange Is the New Black” star Taylor Schilling), a corporate execute who says she’ll pay him $5000 for a weekend-long abduction — but only if Ray agrees to violate his own terms of service and slap her around in the process.

Sporting a goofy wig and aviator sunglasses, Ray reluctantly agrees to this proposition, and is soon taking Anna hostage at (fake) gunpoint. Back in the brick-lined basement of his mother’s house, where Anna is tied up and gagged, Ray commences his scripted simulation involving demands for a phony work file (the purported reason he’s grabbed Anna). However, after initially seeming only half-heartedly into this ruse, Anna suddenly turns alternately dismissive, confused, scared, and downright aggressive — to the point that she stabs Ray in the back with a shard of glass. And then, the cops show up at Ray’s door.

What ensues is a game of cat-and-mouse in which the reality of Ray and Anna’s situation becomes increasingly fuzzy, both to audiences and, at various points, to Ray and Anna as well. Ray begins as a self-assured schlub, but as circumstances spiral out of control, he starts projecting confidence as a means of staving off panic, if not outright terror (“I’m very good at what I do,” he repeatedly remarks, less convincing each time). Healy embodies his well-intentioned loon with just the right measure of buffoonish arrogance and pitifulness, and he’s ably matched by the equally alluring and intimidating Schilling, whose Anna vacillates so wildly between pleading victim and dangerous threat that it’s never quite clear what’s genuine and what’s an act.

As the action relocates from Ray’s basement to his parents’ remote cabin, “Take Me” segues into deeper character-related terrain, revealing secrets about Ray that explain his motivations, even as they fail to make them any less twisted or pathetic. Those revelations turn Ray into more than just a one-joke conceit, while further amplifying the what’s-going-on mystery of this psychosexual S&M-style guessing game, which soon twists itself into a dizzying knot. From one wild mood swing to the next, it keeps us interested with aplomb, with Mike Makowsky’s script never lingering too long on any one element, the better to keep the pace brisk, and unpredictable.

Healy’s direction is similarly to the point, its unassuming compositions and curt edits enhancing the proceedings’ droll brusqueness. Heather McIntosh’s bouncy score is laced with darker tones, thereby providing suitable musical accompaniment for a tale that dive-bombs into that hazy gray area between terror and comedy. By ordeal’s end, its harried characters may not know which way is up, but “Take Me” maintains throughout a firm grip on its farcical absurdity.

Tribeca Film Review: 'Take Me'

Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Spotlight Narrative), April 27, 2017. Running time: 84 MIN.

Production: A The Orchard release of a Netflix presentation of a Duplass Brothers production. (International sales: ICM Partners, Los Angeles.) Producers: Mel Eslyn, Sev Ohanian. Executive producer: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass. Co-producer: Natalie Qasabian.

Crew: Director: Pat Healy. Screenplay: Mike Makowsky. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Nathan M. Miller. Editor: F. Brian Scofield. Music: Heather McIntosh.

With: Taylor Schilling, Pat Healy, Alycia Delmore, Jim O'Heir.

More Film

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron’s 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for the 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

  • Laura Linney Cast in Viggo Mortensen

    Laura Linney Joins Viggo Mortensen's Family Drama 'Falling'

    Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, and Terry Chen have joined the cast of Viggo Mortensen’s family drama “Falling.” The movie will be Mortensen’s directorial debut. He’s also producing, wrote the screenplay, and is playing one of the two leading roles in a story about a son’s relationship with his aging father. Production is currently underway in Toronto. [...]

  • Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Romcom 'Plus One'

    Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Rom-Com 'Plus One' Sells Ahead of Tribeca Premiere

    Romantic comedy “Plus One,” starring Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid, has sold to RLJE Films in a pre-emptive deal for low seven figures ahead of its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Plus One” is written and directed by Jeff Chan (“Adam Ruins Everything”) and Andrew Rhymer (Pregame). The film also stars Ed Begley, [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Walt Disney Studios Leaders Say Fox Deal Represents 'Exciting New Chapter'

    Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman are asking Fox staffers to be patient while the company begins the complicated work of integrating the two motion picture teams. Both men were on Fox’s Century City lot for meetings with executives. In a memo, Bergman and Horn said they would try to be [...]


    Doha Film Institute's Qumra Wraps, Bolstering Status as Top Arab Cinema Event

    The Doha Film Institute’s unique Qumra workshop wrapped its fifth edition on Wednesday following six days of masterclasses, labs and mentoring sessions that bolstered the DFI’s status as the prime entity fostering Arab filmmaking and connecting directors from most of the region with the rest of the world.  Programmers from Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin and [...]

  • Tribeca Film Festival'Venus in Fur' film

    Tribeca Film Institute Honors 14 Films With Grants in Tribeca All Access Program

    The Tribeca Film Institute has announced the 14 films to be honored with grants at the 16th annual Tribeca All Access program, which amplifies stories from underrepresented voices. Seven films and seven documentaries will earn grants from the program to aid their productions, many of them having not received previous funding. The filmmakers will attend [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content