Streaming on Netflix from today is the Dutch thriller, The Takeover. The movie – directed by Annemarie van de Mond – stars Holly Mae Brood and Geza Weisz, and follows the story of a hacker who is framed for murder.
In the movie, Mel Bandison lives in Rotterdam, where she works as one of the Netherlands’ best computer hackers. Operating in secret, Mel spends her days hacking into systems, testing out security, and working on sensitive projects.
One night, while sat at her computer, someone breaks into Mel’s home. The unwelcome intruders are specifically looking for Mel and when she realises who they are after, she flees the property and heads to the nearest police station.
But the police prove to be no help and Mel quickly regrets getting in touch with them. And to make matters worse, a short while later she is framed for a murder she didn’t commit.
Fearing for her safety and wanted by the police, Mel goes on the run, while trying to figure out why her life has suddenly been turned upside down. What follows is a race against time to prove her innocence and fight for survival.
Unfortunately, Mel’s fight for survival is largely uneventful, which is the best way to describe this movie. While The Takeover is watchable, and it can certainly pass some time should you find yourself at a (very) loose end, it isn’t particularly exciting, nor is it something to seek out.
The main problem with The Takeover is that this is a by-the-numbers thriller, which has been done many times before, and often in much better ways. Just off the top of my head I can think of a number of better hacker thrillers, including The Net (1995), Enemy of the State (1998), and Swordfish (2001) to name but three, and while they might be dated by today’s standards, they are far more interesting to watch.
The issue is, The Takeover has no imagination or originality, and no creative flair. It does exactly what you expect it to do, doesn’t push any envelopes or break any new ground, and this means there is no incentive to dive in and give it your time.
In terms of action or drama, there’s a bit of running here and there, the odd car chase, a few scenes of people looking serious and/or concerned, and a runaway bus. The bus sequence adds some last-minute peril, but again it is all very generic.
On the plus side, the cast are largely fine, with Holly Mae Brood doing her best in the role of Mel, but no one is really given anything exciting to do and no one is really challenged. Everyone involved in the film required a much better script, but it clearly wasn’t available.
At times, I feel like the film wants to be better than it is, and it is competently made, but there’s just nothing going on here. Unless you’re the world’s biggest hacker enthusiast, and you’ve exhausted all of the cyber movies from the past, do yourself a favour and watch something else.
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