Bad Beek Up the Creek
"Taken in Broad Daylight" is based upon the true story of 17 year old Anne Sluti who was kidnapped and held captive by Tony Zappa for six days where she was repeatedly raped, but thanks to her bravery and ingenuity survived. Now that has potential because the story of a young girl cleverly leaving clues and negotiating with her captor should be fascinating and a change from the normal kidnap style movie. But unfortunately it isn't fascinating because of one simple fact, we do not connect with Anne or family or their friend det. Timbrook. Maybe those who know the story before watching "Taken in Broad Daylight" will feel that connection but for those who don't it leaves you as an observer, sometimes a shocked observer but still just an observer. And if you are just an observer the thing you will end up remembering the most about "Taken in Broad Daylight" is James Van Der Beek playing a bad guy which he does surprisingly well.
So in fairness I don't know in depth the story of Anne Sluti but the fact her bravery, tenacity and ingenuity was pivotal in surviving the ordeal does make it sound worthy of being made into a TV movie as this is. The fact the focus is on Anne and her ordeal and what she did to get free is a change to your normal child kidnap movies which focus more on the police, parents and emotional turmoil. And as such there is a side to "Taken in Broad Daylight" which is fascinating and hard hitting especially when following being raped Anne has enough spirit to not be completely broken by Tony.
But the trouble for me is that "Taken in Broad Daylight" left me feeling like an outsider watching something which happened to someone else and not being able to connect. It is a problem which starts from the fact that not only does the brief introduction not give us much character depth but almost feels like it is painting a too perfect picture of an American family as we see Anne with her family. I am sure those who followed Anne's abduction probably felt a bigger connection but for those like me who watch because of it being a true story that feeling of being left as someone looking in is a big issue.
Despite this I have to say that the courage of Anne Sluti is amazing and whilst the connection may not be there the admiration is. It is this side of the movie, Anne doing what is needed to survive, leave clues and manipulate Tony to get free which is staggering and director Gary Yates does a good job of delivering these elements. It's just a shame that he didn't do such a good job of delivering the connection. And to be honest it is also a shame that he tries to keep up on the edge of our seats to find out why Tony kidnapped Anne, because it doesn't work.
Now the thing about "Taken in Broad Daylight" is that the minute you realise that it is James Van Der Beek who is the violent and deranged Tony you are surprised. Looking up at him over the barrel of a gun the distain in his eyes is brilliant and Van Der Beek does a brilliant job of playing the delusional and deranged Tony. That isn't to say that Sara Canning as Anne is poor because Canning is just as good and it's thanks to her fine acting that in those moments of despair you are able to feel the hurt that she feels. And whilst we also have good performances from the actors which play Anne's family it is LeVar Burton as det. Timbrook which really manages to bridge the gap, allowing this to be both real yet thrilling thanks to his desperation to help.
What this all boils down to is that I am sure Anne Sluti's story is a powerful one but unfortunately "Taken in Broad Daylight" doesn't quite get across how powerful it is. And the simple reason is because it fails to make the characters real and so we struggle to connect with them in their moment of crisis.