A regular workday kidnapping goes awry for hapless entrepreneur Ray, when he gets more than he bargained for in victim Anna. This isn’t your average kidnapping for ransom: Ray runs a (mostly) legal, consensual designer kidnapping business in which his targets pay him, either for cheap thrills or curative therapy. Can’t kick the hamburger habit? Easy, have Ray kidnap you and shove hamburgers down your throat until you’re done with even the sight of them.
Hired by Anna for the full weekend, Ray experiences a slight kink in his plan when, first, she seems to be far less consenting than her signed contract and massive wad of cash initially suggested. Secondly, the police are hot on Ray’s tail, sparking a missing person’s case he and Anna are stuck in the middle of. Far too late, Ray begins to sense a set-up. With an angry, terrified woman all tied up in his basement, and the snare tightening by the minute, the poor kidnapper begins to panic. Further calamity, of course, ensues.
A kidnapping farce in the tradition of Ruthless People and Fargo, combined with the Dominant/Submissive thrills of Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down or A Life Less Ordinary, Take Me is the latest directorial feature of popular Indie actor and personality Pat Healy. Working from a script by Mike Makowsky, he delivers a clever, fun and charming little black comedy, and an incredible two-hander with co-lead Taylor Schilling. As Ray and Anna, the pair are delightfully free of ego; Healy looks ridiculous in a stupid wig and self-consciously ‘hard’ leather jacket, and his wet Ray is depicted as a frequently pathetic man, likeable only in his failures and can-do attitude. Schilling, meanwhile, trades in the jail cell for an even more humiliating form of captivity, spending most of the movie tied and gagged with the full range of Ray’s bondage accoutrements. Schilling acquits herself wonderfully here, in this cheerier version of The Disappearance of Alice Creed, jumping from fiery to terrified and broken at a moment’s notice. This is a film, which would live or die on the chemistry of its leads, and thankfully, Healy and Schilling are more than up to the task. Even better, it doesn’t feel the need to turn itself into a romantic comedy during the back half, keeping the pair’s wonderfully antagonistic relationship on the hot coals right up until the end.
Still, those who go in expecting the jet black comedy of Cheap Thrills or the twists and turns of Fargo (yes, we know we brought it up in the first place) may be disappointed. Light on plot, heavy on dialogue, it lets its actors and characters do most of the talking. This in mind, it’s a shame that Anna isn’t so rounded as Ray, and that she doesn’t quite feel like a worthy foil to his antics until very late into the proceedings. But then comes the film’s brilliant, hilarious denouement, and all is forgiven.
A fun, surprisingly sweet kinky comedy starring two of our best Indie darlings, Take Me is a joy, juggling excellent performances, steaming hot visuals and a script packed full of great gags. It is, frankly, captivating.
TAKE ME / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: PAT HEALY / SCREENPLAY: MIKE MAKOWSKY / STARRING: PAT HEALY, TAYLOR SCHILLING, ALYCIA DELMORE / RELEASE DATE: 5TH MAY (US); UK RELEASE TBA