At the time I sat down to watch Cleveland Abduction I had no idea that this was actually a made-for-TV movie. That would not have deterred me from watching as I have seen some fantastic made-for-TV movies over the years, but it would have made things make more sense. This is based on a horrific true story of a brave woman called Michelle Knight who was abducted and imprisoned for over a decade!
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The Movie Review
The main character is a young single mother called Michelle Knight. Michelle is on her way to court as she is in a custody battle over her young son. An “acquaintance” called Ariel Castro offers Michelle a ride and she accepts, but he had no intention of helping her out! Castro takes her to his home and locks her up.
Over the years Michelle is abused horribly by Castro! He is an absolute monster and the performance of Raymond Cruz is very convincing. Cruz was so convincing as Castro that when this movie was being made the real-life Michelle Knight could not be near him at first as he reminded her so much of the real-life Ariel Castro.
Cruz gets a real taste of what he has done to Michelle and she will not be his last victim. He kidnaps two more women and holds them hostage too, abusing them the same way he did Michelle. The other two women and Michelle form a real sisterly bond and look out for each other during their horrific ordeal which lasts many, many years!
Michelle Knight is played by Taryn Manning who I loved in Orange Is the New Black. Taryn Manning does a wonderful job in bringing Michelle Knight to life in this movie. Taryn Manning plays her with strength, but also a vulnerability at the same time. It is a real shame that she has not gotten more critical acclaim for this role. However, that could be because it is a made-for-TV movie.
Look, Cleveland Abduction is a horrific and haunting story, even more so as this actually happened to these poor women. However, as a movie, I think the fact this was made for TV did hamper it significantly. There is only so much you do on TV and that meant that they had to tone down a lot of the abuse that the women went through.
I am not saying we actually want to see this happening. However, it always cuts away just before something brutal happens, leaving it to the imagination. I get why they had to do this, but I think had they been able to show more, this movie would have been a far more brutal watch and it would have made Michelle and the other girl’s escape mean so much more to the viewer.
Did I like Cleveland Abduction? I would have to say that I did like this movie, it is a horrible and hard-hitting story. However, I must admit that I think it should have been a lot harder to sit through than it was. While I was greatly concerned for the ladies, I was never quite squirming in my seat, feeling super uncomfortable like other abduction movies have made me feel in the past.
- This is one of the best performances from Taryn Manning
- There is a real creepiness about the villain, Ariel Castro
- I feel that they told the story as well as they could for a made for TV movie
- It is worth a watch if you like crime stories
- The fact they could not show some of the more brutal aspects of the story hurts the movie
- At only 90 minutes, I feel that an extra 10-15 could have really helped, but again, this is a made-for-TV movie