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Kidnapped (review)

Sure, Robert Louis Stevenson’s unforgettable tale of David Balfour’s adventurous coming of age takes place at a specific — and much storied — time and place, but this sublime, riveting 2005 British TV adaptation brings to the screen a grand sense of timelessness that makes the novel such an enduring classic. The high seas of the 18th century and the rugged Highlands of the Jacobite rebellion are the tempestuous canvas upon which naive Davey (James Anthony Pearson, in a wonderful performance) struggles to find a new place for himself in the world after his uncle sells him into bondage to a vicious sea captain — but it’s when he teams up with Highland rebel Alan Breck (Iain Glen: Kingdom of Heaven) that matters of honor begin to haunt Davey’s maturing conscience. The bleak and glorious locations are captured in the magnificent, grim cinematography, echoing Davey’s personal torments, from the anguish of betrayal by family to the harsh penalties for misplaced trust in new acquaintances. But there’s no need to take this Masterpiece Theater installment so seriously — there are plenty of swashbuckling, scoundrelry, and heroics to go round for those just looking for a rip-roaring tale.

MPAA: not rated

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