Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
Directed by: Jerry Jameson
Starring: Kate Mara, David Oyelewo, Mimi Rogers
Written by: Brian Bird (screenplay), Ashley Smith (book)
Synopsis: A single mother struggling with drug addiction is taken hostage in her own apartment by a man on the run after breaking out of jail and murdering the judge assigned to his case. (Imdb)
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This has been an early fall movie season based on true stories with Everest, Black Mass, and now Captive hitting theaters. Based on the events of the 1996 hostage incident in Atlanta that turned into a national story. In Captive, Kate Mara plays Ashley Smith, a young mother who losses it all and attempts to set her life back in order. Just as she’s turning the corner in her life, the most unexpected of things happens. Ashley gets taken hostage by a dangerous convict named Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) who escaped prison and is on the run from the authorities. A hostage situation ensues as Ashley is trapped inside her home at the mercy of Nichols. Soon Ashley discovers that Nichols might spare her life if she follows his orders.
I feel as I have seen this sort of story in movies a lot. Argo, Captain Phillips come to mind (also based on true stories). Captive doesn’t separate itself from the rest. It’s a solid movie, but one more fitting to end up on Lifetime. Mara and Oyelowo do a nice job as two individuals that are trapped in a house together attempting to survive, while also struggling with significant personal issues. They seem to have solid chemistry together, one scene in particular when she prepares him breakfast and reads to him. It was a nice moment of honesty, shows the more human and non-violent side of Nichols. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Mara’s Southern accent, it kinda sounds like Mara in every other film.
Awkward breakfast anyone?
It’s frustrating to watch Ashley pass on every opportunity to retaliate against Nichols. There are a number of scenes when she’s inches away from his gun and decides not to take it, or just run out while he’s hallucinating from drugs, but it’s part of the real narrative after all. Nichols appears to be the most aware unaware murderer I’ve seen on screen. He’s got a grasp of how to evade the authorities, yet he’s unaware of the significance of all the murders he’s committed, and doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to interact with Ashley once he takes her hostage. Sort of bizarre, but Oyelowo does a nice job with his portrayal of Nichols. I didn’t think I’d have a laugh during this movie, but the scene where Nichols is tripping on meth is quite hilarious, if not somewhat disturbing also.
Oyelowo does fine work in Captive
This is mainly a two person act. Majority of the movie takes place in Ashley’s apartment and the action feels as if it’s taking place in real time, which leads to it having a realistic in the moment sort of feel, but also makes it a bit mundane. The movie left me with some unanswered questions. The opening shot of the movie shows Ashley playing with her daughter, next scene is fast forward a few years later and Ashley is attending a drug support group meeting. How and why did she go from middle or upper class individual to losing it all? That’s something that the viewer deserves to know, especially since it’s about a real person. The movie offers little backstory on it’s main characters. Nichols’ past is mentioned, but what exactly drove him to become so manic besides the allegation he was facing? There has to be more to it.
Captive is a intriguing film, but aside from a couple scenes where Ashley is confronted with some life altering choices, the suspense is scarce. Oyelowo does some nice work, Mara is just average. After the disappointing Fantastic Four performance where she just coasted alongside her cast mates, this was a good role to restore her prominence, but she doesn’t do much with it. It’s fairly edgy movie, especially in the beginning it gets off to a dramatic fast start. Ultimately it’s a movie that’s better suited for a Netflix run, or waiting till it’s DVD release. Then there is always Lifetime.
Runtime: 97 minutes
Release Date: September 18, 2015 (USA)
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