The Abduction Club
Charmed. Byrne and Strang meet Catharine and Anne
dir Stefan Schwartz
scr Bill Britten, Richard Crawford
with Daniel Lapaine, Matthew Rhys, Sophia Myles, Alice Evans, Liam Cunningham, Patrick Malahide, Edward Woodward, Tom Murphy, John Arthur, Ben Palmer, Frank Laverty, Peter Gaynor
release UK 19.Jul.02
02/UK-Ireland 1h36

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
stealing beauty This 18th century romp features a terrific storyline (inspired by real events) and a lively and energetic cast.

Byrne and Strang (Lapaine and Rhys) are second sons in wealthy Irish families, which means they will inherit nothing. So their only hope for marriage is to join the local abduction club, a group of gentleman who kidnap heiresses and then, away from the influence of their families, patiently and politely convince them to marry someone penniless. The problem is that Byrne and Strang set their sights on the Kennedy sisters--strong-willed Catharine (Evans) and feisty Anne (Myles)--who simply don't play by the rules! Meanwhile, Anne's villainous suitor (Cunningham) throws the weight of the law and the military behind his efforts to catch them.

OK so the story is a bit riddled with cliches, complete with the bellowing baddie, a traitorous club member (Murphy), a vile politician (Woodward) with a personal grudge against the club leader (Malahide), and of course the girls' befuddled father (Arthur). Fortunately, the film looks great, with a kind of offhanded approach to the period that maintains the reality yet never makes us feel we're watching a slick Merchant Ivory production.

This same approach extends to the performances, which are realistic and true to the time, yet accessible and involving. Despite the predictable turns of the plot, we fall completely for the romantic and political entanglements, as far-fetched as they may be. The success lies in the central foursome: Lapaine and Rhys are outrageously charming swashbucklers; Myles (a Kate Winslet lookalike who holds her own) and Evans are gorgeous and seriously independent women. Great fun.
themes, violence, language cert 12 8.Apr.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
abduction club send your review to Shadows... Laura Scott, England: "I agree with this review. I watched it on the plane to Florida, and I really enjoyed it. The acting was great, and it kept my interest throughout. It may be a little cliche at times, and a little predictable, but that's the genre I think. All genres are predictable, and that's why they are there, and why we love them." (25.Feb.03)

Fiona Harney, Limerick, Ireland: 5/5 "This film is one of the best films I have ever seen. It has everything: jokes, romance, good looking men, what else could you ask for. The plot is entirely original in my opinion and the acting was excellent. I personnally loved the characters Strang and Anne, and thought Matthew Rhys and Sophia Myles acted them brilliantly. I bought the soundtrack as well and I listen to it all the time. There is nothing more that I can say except I LOVE THIS FILM." (8.Mar.04)

abduction club Conny, Nurnberg: 5/5 "One of the best movies I have ever seen. I loved it from the very first moment and even my friends, who usually don't like romantic comedies at all but were forced to watch it, loved it. It's funny, got 'two extremely handsome gentlemen' (anne) in it, great landscape, great horses, great actors and just a wonderful story. Soooo romantic!!! After seeing it in Glasgow for the first time, I have seen it at least 10 times by now." (17.Mar.04)

Karen, Melbourne, Australia: 5/5 "I absolutely love this movie! I found it hilarious and had to go out and buy my own copy. It had it all - romance, handsome men and feisty women, with some action tossed in. Perfect, loved it! Wonder where I could get the soundtrack - is there a book even? mmmm" (12.Nov.04)

abduction club Annie, London: 5/5 "I loved this film so much. i watched it at some random time in the morning, on some random channel, but thought it was great! It was the first time i'd seen Matthew Rhys, and thought he was by far the best in it. His acting is so natural and he's incredibly sexy! Hehe." (13.Jan.05)

hodam, uk: "Absolutely amazing. Watched it at 2 in the morning, but i've never seen anything so captivating. Sure it's quite predictable at times but then again it's 1780. I loved Strang and Anne, what a cute couple. And Byrne had his charm too. Amazing." (23.Apr.07)

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall