In the movie “Taken,” seventeen year-old Kim (Maggie Grace) is the pride and joy of her father Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). Bryan is a retired agent who leaves the Central Intelligence Agency to live nearer to Kim in California; it’s an attempt to make up for the time he lost while he was away for work. Kim lives with her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen). Kim manages to convince her reluctant father to allow her to travel to Paris with her friend Amanda. When the girls arrive in Paris they share a cab with a stranger named Peter, and Amanda lets it slip that they are alone in Paris. Using this information an Albanian gang of human traffickers kidnaps the girls. Kim barely has time to call her father but gives brief him information. Her father gets to speak briefly to one of the kidnappers and he promises to kill them if they do not let his daughter go free. The kidnapper talks to Bryan on the phone:Order now
BRYAN: I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have is a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
MARKO: Good luck.
This dialogue helps Bryan find his window of opportunity to rescue his daughter is exceedingly slim, a mere 96 hours. He continues to travel to France and utilize his unique skill set to obtain the information he needs to both recover his daughter, and punish those responsible for perpetrating the crime.
Taken starts off relatively slow as it presents the back-story and gets the audience up to speed on how the story ended up were it is now. The lighting noticeably switches from darker when Mills is alone or thinking about his relationship with his daughter, to lighter when he is around her. Transforming from a dim and somber arrangement to much lighter and positive when dealing with Kim. Kim’s mother Lenore gets in the way of good parenting skills sense Bryan and Lenore are divorced and don’t get along at all Lenore only wants to make her daughter happy and not what is right from wrong dealing with her daughters future decisions.
After the divorce Lenore married a very rich businessman that treats Kim and Lenore like a queen and princes and just trough’s money at everything like trying to out Bryan when he came to Kim’s birthday party. He presented a horse for her birthday present and her real dad Bryan could only afford a karaoke machine sense that’s what she wanted so she could become a singer one day. That shows you how much people care so much about materialism instead of valuing what you have. Lenore made the wrong decision by coming with Kim to the diner to meet her dad for lunch to only want to talk about her trip to Paris with her friend. Kim came to ask Bryan for permission to go sense her parents are divorced and they both have to sign off on the paper so she could go so she asked her dad if she could go to Paris:
BRYAN: I’m not comfortable with this.
BRYAN: I know the world, sweetie.
KIM: Dad, please…
BRYAN: I don’t think a seventeen-year-old should be traveling alone.
KIM: I’m not gonna be alone.
BRYAN: Two seventeen-year-olds.
KIM: Amanda’s nineteen!
BRYAN: How about this? How about if I go along? You won’t even know I’m there. I’m very good at being invisible.
LENORE: As you so amply demonstrated for the rest of her life.
During the conversation with her dad her mom Lenore just keeps making negative remarks to her dad when she only cares about money and her daughter being happy. Well after they left from the diner the next day Bryan came to see Kim at home to tell her she could go only under certain circumstances like to call her dad a lot and to stay away from certain locations in Paris.
Bryan has seen action in Afghanistan and apparently everywhere else, and knows it’s a dangerous world for a naive teenage girl. He is against Kim spending the summer in Paris with her girlfriend, even though “cousins” will apparently chaperone. Kim and her friend end up getting themselves kidnapped in the afternoon of the same day they get off the plane.
Then, the girls go to the apartment with a stranger and gave him all the information he needed to get the girls. Kim has time for one terrified phone call to Dad before she’s taken away. A particularly chilling scene is shot from Kim’s point of view in a bathroom directly across from the living room where her friend is standing. The kidnappers are seen from this vantage point entering and grabbing the girl as she struggles and is dragged away. Kim is on the phone with her father at the time and this leads to one of the most compelling scenes in the movie. Mills gives Kim instructions on exactly what to do to get him the necessary information he needs to rescue her. He then proceeds to listen as his daughter is attacked and taken away as she yells out a description of her attackers. In a particularly dramatic exchange, one of the kidnappers picks up the phone and is told that he will be hunted down if the girl is not released.
The movie’s primary message is about family and the importance of protecting our children. This is shown by the negative effects of divorce, the resulting disconnect between parents and children, and the way either parents treat their children, and the emphasis on materialism instead of values, and being careful wherever you go in the world.
Dargis, Manohla. “Vigilante Daddy Avenges Kidnapping.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Jan. 2009. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.
Katey, Rich. “Taken.” Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.
Murray, Rebeca. “‘Taken’ Movie Review.” About.com Hollywood Movies. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.