I would like to begin this review by saying that I love David Oyelowo and I think he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for Selma. I also think Kate Mara is the underrated Mara sister. I also love thrillers, enjoy tension in movie theatres, and I would recommend that everyone sees a 2014 movie called THE Captive.
Sadly, I cannot recommend seeing the 2015 movie Captive, a made-for-TV, based-on-a-true-story quality drama that is also a Christian propaganda commercial for a book written by a known anti-gay marriage, abstinence-instead-of-contraception, anti pro-choice evangelist. Said book, also, it should be noted, already sold 30 million copies, so I can see how there may have been a belief that there is a built-in audience for this, but that’s a whole other can of worms to open.
The problem is, aside from all the topical issues I may have with the subject at hand, the movie is also not good if judged as nothing but a piece of filmmaking. The story involves an escaped convict (a lean, mean Oyelowo who spends the first half of the film in a suit but with no shirt on) who seeks refuge and takes hostage a young single mother named Ashley Smith, who is struggling with meth addiction and trying to get her life back on track (Mara, at her waifiest). They talk, he does drugs, she doesn’t do drugs, they struggle, they eat pancakes, and she reads to him from the aforementioned book and then he lets her go.
She then goes and writes a book about it all and that book is now a movie we are (unfortunately) watching.
The problems are myriad: the dialogue is stilted, the chase surrounding Oyelowo’s character is done in the most procedural way – it wouldn’t even work on Law and Order – and the characters’ motivations are mostly unclear to anyone with common sense. Jerry Jameson, whose last directing effort was in 1996 (and was Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) is clearly an 80 year old man who should not be in charge of a modern film. The fact that Jameson also helmed Touched By An Angel, which was written by Brian Bird (who wrote this lunky script) and was MAYBE Ashley Smith’s favorite movie, probably made him a front runner for Captive, but that’s just my guess.
It all ends with clips of Ashley Smith on assorted talk-shows spreading the gospel (and collecting appearance fees), which just puts a final Lifetime-movie-of-the-week cherry on top of this propaganda sundae.
Please don’t see this.