Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Movie Review #312: "Captive" (2015)

Ticket Price: $6.50
Director: Jerry Jameson
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
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Facing rape and kidnapping charges, Brian Nichols (David Oyleowo), while being brought into court, escapes from custody when he overpowers his guard. He steals her gun and murders three people during his escape, including the judge who was overseeing his trial. While on the lamb, Brian murders a fourth person for his truck before taking a meth addict named Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) hostage in her brand new apartment.  

Based on real life events surrounding Brian Nichols and Ashley Smith and the subsequent book entitled "The Unlikely Angel" she wrote detailing her account of her experience, "Captive" is an okay movie and another in a long line of true crime dramas from 2015. It exists, it is here, but the entire ordeal didn't necessarily need a movie in the first place. In March of 2005, when everyone and their mother still had flip phones, Brian Nichols, played here by David Oyelowo, escaped from prison, murdering four people in the process, before taking a drug addict named Ashley Smith, played in the movie by Kate Mara, hostage. When we first saw the trailer for this movie, it seemed to be directly geared towards those who are religiously inclined, leading us to believe this was another "faith-based" film with a focus on the book "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Now that we've seen the movie, we would have to say that no, this is not really a faith-based film as the book only serves as a footnote in the grand scheme of the story. We aren't really sure if this was done on purpose to capitalize on the ever-growing genre of religious-centered films, which have become more popular in theaters as of recent years, but it seems as if the actual story itself wasn't necessarily entrenched in religion apart from the fact that "The Purpose Driven Life" was read by Smith to Nichols during their time together.

It doesn't appear as if there was a really in-depth story to be told here, and again, we're not sure if it needed to be re-told since it already happened in reality. Much of the film is the standard fugitive/hostage style movie and doesn't offer anything all that new or different in this vein. Regardless, David Oyelowo, even in a typical, mediocre movie, still performs the hell out of each and every part he plays, and this is no different. Unfortunately, we are not fans of how the filmmakers tried to turn Brian Nichols into an almost sympathetic character at times. What he did to deserve to go to jail in the first place was morally reprehensible, contemptible, and disgusting, and this is all before he even murdered anybody. The real Brian Nichols has shown little remorse for his actions and he has even been caught on tape saying if given the chance, he'd do it all again. There's a scene in the movie where, after trying to give Nichols a shred of redemption, he basically tells Ashley Smith something the effect of, "I killed those people because it felt good, and I would do it again." Does this sound like the kind of person a movie should try to sympathize or redeem in any way? We say HELL NO. This hostage crisis was obviously a point of great revelation in the life of Ashley Smith and it seems as though the filmmakers missed a couple of opportunities for some more powerful moments that could have engaged viewers even more than they may have already been. The reality of what happened was far more compelling than what wound up on screen, so we would have liked to see a bit more emotional connection. Coming so close to death and discovering that you really wanted to live after being a drug addicted screw up for so long would definitely drive almost anyone to change their life for the better. Kate Mara, coming off of a huge stinker of a film in "Fantastic Four" gets another chance to showcase her dramatic acting chops here, which she seems better at than anything else. She was fine in this movie and we believe her as a meth addict who just wants to stop using so she can get her daughter back and regain control of her life.

Though having some missed opportunities and not living up to the potential of what it could have been, we weren't bored by the movie in the slightest. There are a few moments where the director thought they'd try and get all artsy-fartsy with the camera work, but other than that, we didn't dislike this film. Another plus it has going for it is its pacing, which wasn't an issue at all as it breezed through its run time. In the end, though, "Captive" is a very average with a sort of afterschool special/Lifetime movie type of feel to it that is somewhat forgettable, though it does have a couple of solid performances by two up and coming actors who will soon even forget they were in this movie.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 31%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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