“You claim you didn’t see anything suspicious when you looked back to the truck.”
The Captive is the latest film directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) which happened to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this year where it was booed by the audience. I’d definitely not boo this film considering I didn’t think it was a complete disaster, but I didn’t really like it either. My reactions are mixed. On the one hand it tries to stand out from other kidnapping films by incorporating a non-linear structure, but unfortunately it doesn’t really help the narrative either. It doesn’t seem to have the character depth nor suspense that other successful movies dealing with kidnappings have. It is rather unfortunate as well that it was released one year after the highly praised Prisoners which was a much better film. There are some suspenseful moments in The Captive, but it is hard to care for these characters considering they weren’t developed at all. They all seem to be sort of emotionally disconnected and the captive girl never seemed to had suffered any side effects from her captivity at all.
Despite all the misfires this film had there was a character that sort of managed to keep me interested, and I think it has to do in most part with Aaron Reynolds’s solid performance. He plays the father of the kidnapped girl and he is the only one who seems believable in this world. While the film focused on him, it kept me engaged and interested, but as soon as the focus shifted to the other characters the story suffered. On the one hand you have the procedural part of the film that is incredibly annoying due to the poor job the detectives are doing on the case. The film failed to give the audience any plausible reason as to why these detectives were so intent on blaming the father for the kidnapping of the girl when he didn’t actually do anything suspicious. Then on the other hand we get to see the kidnaper’s relationship with the kidnapped girl which is completely unrealistic. So when the film departs from the Reynolds character (and it does so way too often) it completely looses its appeal. Mireille Enos plays the mother, but she doesn’t add much to the film. When her initial reaction is to blame the father for the disappearance of the girl you kind of feel cheated because there is no rational explanation for these sort of behaviors. The entire reasoning behind this seemed to be to isolate the father and make us feel sympathetic towards him. There are some thrills in The Captive, but nothing really special to recommend.