Directed by: Stefan Schwartz
Written by: Bill Britten, Richard Crawford
Other cast: Alice Evans, Daniel Lapaine, Sophia Myles, Matthew Rhys, Liam Cunningham
Release date: 19 July 2002 (UK)
Running time: 96 min
Ireland, 1780. The eldest sons of wealthy families stand to inherit everything, and with this comes the pick of the attractive society brides. But the younger brothers get nothing. So a group of these financially challenged gents come together to form The Abduction Club their plan: take attractive, wealthy girls captive for one night and persuade them to marry. Saddled up, wearing masks, they set off to abduct their would-be brides from under their fathers’ noses. But what happens when their intendeds do not succumb to their impoverished proposals? Maybe its time to take off the masks and turn on the charm!
In 18th century Ireland, there are two financially insecure young bachelors, Garrett Byrne and James Strang, whose exploits evolve from the need to secure wealth. Both are younger sons that will not inherit titles and estates so they become members of an infamous society known as the ‘Abduction Club’, whose main aim is to woo and then abduct wealthy heiresses in order to marry them (therefore providing themselves with financial security). The men decide to set their sights on the beautiful yet feisty Kennedy sisters, Catherine and Anne, but are unprepared for the negative reaction they are to receive, and they soon find themselves on the run across the Irish countryside (with the sisters in tow) from Anne’s cold-hearted admirer, John Power, who does not take kindly to the news of their kidnapping, and with the help of the embittered Attorney General Lord Fermoy, implicates Byrne and Strang in the murder of a Redcoat soldier.
Sophia plays Anne Kennedy, the younger sister of Catherine, who is expected to marry John Power until she is ‘unpredictably’ abducted by James Strang.
Quotes from Reviews
It’s Sophia Myles as Anne who really stands out though, eclipsing the nominal heroine (Alice Evans) and stealing every scene she’s in, marking herself out as a talent to watch in the future… To sum up, then, The Abduction Club is an undeniably silly, but nonetheless enjoyable slice of romantic nonsense that’s definitely worth seeing for Sophia Myles’ performance.
Lapaine is suitably dashing and Myles makes for a relatively rebellious role model.
Evans and Myles fare slightly better as the feisty femme fatales.
Shadows on the Wall
This same approach extends to the performances, which are realistic and true to the time, yet accessible and involving. Despite the predictable turns of the plot, we fall completely for the romantic and political entanglements, as far-fetched as they may be. The success lies in the central foursome: Lapaine and Rhys are outrageously charming swashbucklers; Myles (a Kate Winslet lookalike who holds her own) and Evans are gorgeous and seriously independent women. Great fun.
Quotes from Sophia
I play a feisty little monster, a 17-year-old spoilt brat – it’s great!
It’s a romp set in Ireland in the 1780s about two young girls who get abducted. It’s very sexy. Full of horse riding, stuff like that…
I was so excited about The Abduction Club. I’ve been playing the innocent young virgin for a long, long time, always the wronged maiden, suppressed and innocent. And suddenly this role came along that was so much closer to me. Anne’s a tomboy, she’s adventurous, she’s upbeat.
I was just desperate to go out at lunchtime and fly kites with the boys but the costume department said: ‘No, you can’t. You’ll get your dress dirty.’ Matthew and Daniel complained that it was cold and they had to trundle through this mud. I said: ‘Try it in a pair of high heels and a corset that’s restricting your waist by five inches!