3096 Days (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Biography
Director: Sherry Hormann
Distributor: eOne
Duration: 106 minutes

3096 Days (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
8.1
Good: Acting, eye-opening at times
Bad: Calm pace might not be to everyone's liking
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

When Natascha Kampusch disappeared on the 2nd of March 1998, it made headlines all over the world. There were no real leads in the case, and as the kidnapper was never found by the police, Natascha remained locked up in Wolfgang Priklopil’s house. After eight years of imprisonment, Natascha managed to escape, and get back her freedom. The girl, a grown woman by the time she escaped, wrote it all down in her book ‘3096 Tage’, which was later made into the film we’re about to review.

3096 Days

Natascha (Amelia Pidgeon) is a ten year old girl, living in an apartment in Vienna with her mother (Trine Dyrholm). Because she had a disagreement with her mother about her father bringing her home too late the previous night, Natascha just goes out the door to go to school by herself, instead of being brought by her mother, like she always was. On her way to school however, she gets dragged into a white van, and the driver drives off to his home, where he locks Natascha up in his cellar, in a room without windows or the slightest bit of daylight, a room he specially built for her. Her kidnapper, later known as Wolfgang Priklopil (Thure Lindhardt), gives her food and water, just enough to keep her going. He tells her that he’s her new father now, and that her real family doesn’t care about her in the slightest, and that they have all long forgotten about her. In addition, he also tells her that all doors and windows are secured with explosives, leaving her no other choice than to remain where she is.

Fast forward a few years, and Natascha (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) has become a young woman. When she first gets her period, Wolfgang realizes that she’s growing up and doesn’t really know how to handle the situation. From then on, he lets her get out of the cellar every now and then, be it only to do chores upstairs, or take a short shower while he’s keeping an eye on her. Through an intercom he installed, he communicates with Natascha when she is downstairs. Most of all, he just tells her ‘Obey me’, over and over again, to make her quiet and obedient. When she grows older, Priklopil also abuses her sexually, and Natascha, with nowhere else to go, has to endure it all. For years this situation continues, until suddenly, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel.

3096 days 2

The story of this film is based on the book Natascha Kampusch wrote about her life of imprisonment at Wolfgang Priklopil’s house. The story is completely told from Natascha’s perspective. This means that there are hardly any scenes where her parents come into play, thus their concern for her isn’t really addressed in this movie. The main focus point is Natascha, with some scenes here and there of what goes on in Priklopil’s life upstairs, which are mostly visits from his mother.

As the focus is only on Natascha, and on her kidnapper, we thought the film wouldn’t keep being interesting, certainly as we all know the ending of the story, it having been all over the media in 2006. Nonetheless, seeing the details of what went on there for eight years, did make us consider more of what the girl actually has gone through for so many years. It’s brought in a calm way, with not many ups and downs in the pace of the story, but it never really got boring, and was certainly eye-opening.

When a film only revolves around two characters, casting is extremely important, as the actors basically have to carry the whole story. We couldn’t complain about the acting at all luckily, as both Amelia Pidgeon as the young Natascha, as well as Antonia Campbell-Hughes as the older Natascha played their part very convincingly. Thure Lindhardt managed to put down a very calm, yet unpredictable, somewhat alienated Priklopil.

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There are no extras on this DVD release, and frankly, we didn’t miss them at all. This is not the kind of film that needs extras, certainly as it is based on a true story, it would somehow feel a bit awkward if it did. Maybe a bit of history concerning media reports about Natascha’s disappearance and escape could have been added, but as we said before, there being no extras feels just right.

Conclusion

3096 Days is a film that gives a unique image of what Natascha Kampusch’s life was like while she was locked up in Wolfgang Priklopil’s cellar. The film has a calm pace but never really bores, partly because of the story being quite eye-opening at times, but also because of the great acting performances. You won’t feel happy after watching this film, but it’s one that will keep you thinking for quite some time.

3096 days 3

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3096 Days (DVD) - Movie Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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