The King of the North is an American pickpocket in Paris. Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) is paired with Idris Elba in “The Take.” The film’s European title is actually better: “Bastille Day.” It was probably changed because many Americans are not familiar with the common name given to French National Day or la Fête nationale.
Actually, the only connection the film has to Bastille Day is that the story takes place in the days and hours ahead of the official celebration, but never mind. It’s a terrible movie.
Madden, who fared better as Robb Stark in the HBO series, plays Michael Mason, a low-level street criminal who unwittingly becomes involved in a terrorist plot. Sean Briar (Elba) is a rogue CIA agent working behind the scenes in Paris to solve a fatal bombing. He pulls Mason out of one bad situation and right into several more, after hinting the expatriate pickpocket might make a good field operative for Langley.
Elba’s character looks a bit too old to be cavorting through Paris like he does, running and jumping along rooftops, chasing and being chased. But, the actor has a huge following and above-the-line billing, unlike his co-star. He even sings a dreadful song over the end credits. My advice to Elba, who was stunning in “Beasts of No Nation,” is “bury” this film as quickly as possible and keep it off the resumé.
The acting and directing in “The Take” have a tired, clichéd look. There are literally cringe-worthy lines being spoken here. And, when you find out what’s behind and who’s behind the terror plot in the story, you will scarcely believe it. No, you won’t believe it.
“The Take” is just your run-of-the-mill Euro-thriller that putt-putts along like a weary TV cop show. Grade: D