Kim knows what she’s doing; she can take care of herself. Dad worries too much. What could go wrong? The horrifying truth is revealed in Taken when her naiveté, her own lies, her friend’s deceit, and the deception of a stranger lead to the downward spiral that almost costs Kim her life.
In addition to A Father’s Redemption, this film reinforces a foundational concept of parenting and the folly of children. Kim mistakes her father’s concern as controlling and cruel, when he has a larger and fuller view of the world and the dangers therein. It’s the common mistake of children that label protective behavior “overprotective”, refusing to see beyond their own desires. Sometimes “no” is spoken out of knowing love, and household regulations are not for constraint and prohibition, but care and provision.
To top off Kim’s dismissal of caution, she also fails to heed her father’s explicit instructions – that she agreed to – regarding calling him, and even this second strike against her is compounded by a third. It’s bad enough that Kim is naïve and dismisses her father’s caution and fails to heed his instructions, but she adds lying about her travel plans.
We don’t think of the consequences of little sins, but forget that each one plays into others and cascades like a rolling snowball down the hill. She lies to her dad about her itinerary, thinking everything will be fine, but the company she keeps has also hid truths about their lodging and arrangements. Consequently, it is not really the seemingly harmless stranger who sets the chain of deception in motion, but Kim herself. All of this precedes her horrific abduction and punctuates a lesson for children old enough to watch this intense film.
A lot of Hollywood fare, particularly “family” entertainment will portray Dad as buffoon, children as smarter than their parents, and disobedience as comedy for which the children are ultimately vindicated without discipline, Taken is a breath of breathtaking fresh air. Like the Grimm’s fairy tales of old, unwise children face dire consequences. In unDisneyfied versions of these tales, disobedient children and little mermaids paid high prices for their folly, and Kim might pay the ultimate price were it not for the third narrative element of the film that we’ll look at in Taken pt. 3: Our Father’s Relentless Pursuit.