Taken is a gripping movie. The word gripping has been overused and is now benign. The truth is that gripping is a very intense word, and if that word has not been overused so much it would have sufficed to have left things with the very first sentence. The intensity of this picture is in how quick everything happens. You can feel that there's not a second to lose. You feel the tension; you feel engulfed by the events. It's gripping. It grips your attention and your emotions.
When I had finished watching Taken, I didn't know what it was that left me mesmerized. Sure enough it was an action flick, like many others. The plot didn't particularly stand out. If anything it was predictable save for a few interesting investigative techniques. The real power of this movie was just how raw it was. It was raw, unadulterated and authentic. Liam Neeson gives one of his best performances ever with an intensity and authenticity that captivates you, perfectly portraying a character that walked in on the movie rather than have been created by a script; Subtle, deliberate, strong and vulnerable.
I hate giving away plots but it's useless not to. Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a loving father who has left the business of being a 'preventer' to live close to his daughter. A 'preventer' of course is just another form of spy who prevents bad things from happening with 'special skills acquired over the years'. He is sincere in his love for his daughter whom he had been away from for years on account of his job.
The movie starts with realism to those unfilmed years after a hero of other movies decides he had neglected his family long enough and has to make it up to them. He is not in the state of despair and hopelessness, and neither is everything like a fairy tale. His daughter loves him, but he cannot manage to be close to her. Time fractured their relationship and not in the usual way where the only feelings were that of bitterness. It was a little better and a little sadder, the feelings were poisoned by pleasant distance. The daughter chose remoteness and amiability rather than closeness and love. There was little else
That same character finds himself in an impossible situation of having to save his daughter with all his strength and all his skills. This is where the movie excels actually. The words in the script don't try too hard. There is no debate about what he's feeling or what he's doing. He is someone determined to get his daughter back. The movie does not waste a second to debate morals or ethics, despite how intricate they are to the movie and to real life. In fact, the questions that this movie could pose if you caught your breath were about the intricacies of life. There are no pauses.
Perhaps one of the most shocking scene is when he is with his old friend and his wife during dinner. He asks him if he is complicit and involved with turning a blind eye to all the human trafficking. His friend doesn't really care for
I write this take on the movie without much analysis, just jotting down my reactions to a very intense movie that gave me more joy to feel than analyze.