Dir Jerry Jameson
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20) - read: Matt's interview with David Oyelowo
“I have a demon inside me”
How far do you have to go before you’re considered ‘beyond redemption’? That’s a key question at the heart of Captive, the impressive fact based crime drama based on hostage victim Ashley Smith’s account: Unlikely Angel.
"not your average mealtime"
The plot follows the heart-wrenching impact on two desperate people’s lives when convicted felon Brian Nichols (David ‘Martin Luther King in Selma’ Oyelowo) kidnaps drug addict Ashley Smith (Kate ‘Fantastic Four’ Mara). We get to witness a tense long night of the soul as Nichols holds Smith captive in her home after murdering four people during a frantic escape from the court (where he had just been convicted of rape). As a massive police manhunt rages across the State, Nichols lies low and finds himself interacting with Smith in ways that will potentially change both their lives.
A gritty true crime kidnap-em-up, Captive is at first glance a somewhat unlikely candidate to be a film that carries a heavyweight plug for the power of redemption featuring Christian Pastor Rick Warren’s best-selling book: The Purpose Driven Life. But much like the suitcase McGuffin in Pulp Fiction, Warren’s ‘Christian life motivation tome’ is an interesting element of the plot, which is used sparingly to thought provoking effect.
Director Jameson keeps the action tight and is aided by the powerful interaction of the two leads as they explores issues of including spiritual darkness, desperation and yes redemption but not in an overly saccharine preachy way. Mara is excellent as the twitchy troubled Smith whilst Oyelowo is simply outstanding as the mentally disturbed, psychotic Nichols, who believes that he is fighting a one-man war against his oppression.
Captive provides a strong depiction of two lost souls finding an understanding around their common ground of each having estranged children, which allows their humanity to seep through.
There is strong support from Mimi Rogers as Smith’s aunt who has custody of her daughter and Michael K. Williams as Detective John Chestnut - the lead investigator on the Police task force (who channels the energy of Wesley Snipes at his most dynamic).
Even as film shot through with spiritual energy you should be prepared for scenes of hard drug use and a truly brutal massacre that isn’t an easy watch.
Captive is an intense and tragic thrill ride that will leave you with much to contemplate.
As a Christian I was worried that this would fall into the risible category of twee faith films that are almost unwatchable due to their combination of low production values and Churchy 'cheese' but Captive deftly avoids those pitfalls and is thus highly recommended.
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3 - Faith, Redemption, Survival writ large)
Awesomeness ööö – the fear is tangible
Laughs ö – not a comedy vehicle
Horror ööö – violent and disturbing in places
Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - redemption is for all
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