Just your average American teenager, Nathan (Lautner) likes to have fun and party without thought to the repercussions. His father (Jason Isaacs) is hard on him and likes to spar with him in the back yard after every time Nathan has done the wrong thing – and mom Mara (Maria Bello) isn’t about to let her husband get carried away with his idea of disciplining their son, so she uses an altogether different approach and grounds him. Crushing on his fellow classmate and neighbor Karen (Lily Collins) for as long as he can remember, Nathan has wanted to ask his former playmate out but his anger issues and feelings that he doesn’t belong have prevented him – and she is dating an older guy in what seems a tumultuous relationship. His luck is about to change though when he is finally going to get an opportunity to spend time with her when he and Karen are assigned a school project together. Their paper on sociology includes topics of missing children and while taking a break, the pair goof off by age-processing several of the faces of the missing kids… until they come across one of Nathan himself.
Questioning who he is and more connived than ever that his recurring dream of a woman being killed means something, Nathan begins poking around and confronts his mother on what it all means – he wants to know the truth of who he is and where he came from. Before he can get the answers he needs, his home is evaded by two men with weapons leaving tragedy in its wake and sending Karen and Nathan on a journey for their very lives.
Apart from Valentine’s Day, this is the only movie that I’ve seen Lautner in, and unfortunately, he hasn’t the talent to carry off anything deeper than this sort of role – a role that will leave girls giddy and breathless (maybe), but nothing more. Probably the first forty-some minutes of the movie is nothing but teenage angst and partying. Once things really get rolling, I was actually quite impressed with the scripts ability to construct a reasonable amount of suspense and some clever twists. The movie isn’t so much action-packed as keeping us on the edge of our seats because we are never quite sure where the movie is going to go next in terms of what the characters will encounter around the next bend.
Same as with anything, there are pros and cons in Abduction. On the con side, the movie isn’t all that well set-up or complex. And on the flipside, that can actually be a pro for something like this – it only adds to the overall gripping idea of the story. The movie doesn’t move at that fast of a pace but it has some excellent twists and even though it won’t be hard to guess what is going on once the viewer reaches a certain point (once Nathan learns in part about his past), there is still something fun in the chase of it all. In addition to a teen heartthrob, there are appearances by Dermot Mulroney (a great mysterious performance, I might add) and Sigourney Weaver plus one of 2012’s rising stars, Lily Collins gives a decent performance given what she had to work with. Despite my griping, I did like the movie. It was an entertaining ride of ups and downs and most important of all, lessons are learned by all.
Perhaps the film doesn't have a good grip on a lot of things like plot outlines, but one of the biggest mysteries is its title. Others have said this, but it is true, the title isn’t telling of the film – the only parallel there might be is the suggestion that Nathan’s life is not really his own. The truth and answers (or in some cases lack of) he is provided make him doubt the life he has lived – the person he is in more ways than one. In the end, he does learn to appreciate what was given to him and that his attitude towards life has done him no favors (even if it does come in a roundabout way). When it comes right down to it, I am not sorry to have seen this one – and in fact, will in all likelihood see it in the near future again… but if you are looking for an espionage thriller with more to it, I’d suggest you look elsewhere.
(Rated PG13 because of one sensual scene between teenagers; his jacket comes off and there is some passionate kissing and heavy breathing before she puts a stop to it. One teen party ends with a guy lying out on the front lawn with beer cans scattered everywhere [the occasional sexual innuendo may be present – and Nathan is seen shirtless a time or two]. There is the unfortunate use of the f-word and other milder profanities. About three people are shot to death [with little blood]; another is beaten up and tossed out the window of a moving train.)