Abduction Club (2002) – movie review

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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Daniel Lapaine, Matthew Rhys, Sophia Myles, Alice Evans
Director: Stefan Schwartz

Did you know that in Ireland in the 19 th century there were ‘abduction clubs’ that kidnapped young women from wealthy families in order to marry them? Well there were, and that little known fact is the premise for this romantic adventure.

Set around the late 1700’s Byrne (Daniel Lapaine) and Strang (Matthew Rhys), two younger sons of wealthy Irish families are destined to a life of poverty, as their older siblings would inherit their family’s fortune. However they are both members of the local secret abduction club whose specific purpose is to help select and abduct young future heiresses for one night in order to use their charms to win the ladies hands in marriage. If they are unsuccessful the abducted daughters are returned to their families unharmed.

Byrne selects Catherine Kennedy (Alice Evans) but during the abduction process also kidnaps her wild, young sister Anne (Sophie Myles), who is attracted to Byrne’s best friend and fellow kidnapper, Strang.

Without giving away too much of the plot they all essentially end up on the run, pursued by the ruthless Power (Edward Woodward).

THE ABDUCTION CLUB is a thoroughly enjoyable movie that’s a great little story, is well made with quality actors and a feel good ending. It’s unlike so many UK productions of the past couple of years that seem to be drab, depressing and invariably gangster films. (Although I hate to make sweeping categorizations like that it’s unfortunately true!)

Also don’t mistake this for a ‘stuffy’ period piece as although it is set in the eighteenth century it’s actually got quite a free, untamed feel to it partly due to the specific time period and its styles and partly to the authentic open backdrop as it was filmed on location in Ireland.

I certainly hope THE ABDUCTION CLUB is as successful as the actual abductions clubs of the time appeared to be as it really does have a mass-market appeal.

5 out of 6 stars