Thomas R., an American agricultural journalist living in Colombia. Hargrove’s 1994 abduction already inspired a Hollywood thriller (“Proof of Life”, with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan). But there is more suspense in looking at the real thing.
Miles Hagrove, one of Hargrove’s sons, shot the year-long video, in which he and his family tried to secure their father’s return. Of those home movies, she has gathered “Miracle Fishing: Abduction Abroad,” A documentary that is able to show Hargroves and a close group of friends and kidnapping experts as they live through that ordeal.
The footage captures them as they negotiate for ransom, awaiting prolonged silence from the kidnappers and even running bundles of cash around. Poor radio reception interferes with the dialogue, and decisions have a continuing effect. (Miles’s best spokesman was a friend? Is there vague evidence that Thomas still survives well enough?) The kidnappers, who have been subject to widespread upheaval in the country, are not in a stable condition themselves.
Like the best domestic films, “Miracle Fishing” is also a psychological study. While waiting for the news, the family enjoyed dinner and music. When the kidnappers indicated that they would be silent for two months, Hargrove cut to black and captured it, giving the audience a limitless taste of that anguish.
Retrospective voice-over from participants helps fill the picture. In this situation some people think to take a camera, let alone keep filming for so long. This “Miracle Fishing” makes a unique and annoying record.
Miracle Fishing: Kidnapping Abduction
Not rated. In English and Spanish with subtitles. Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes. Look at Discovery +.