I had high hopes for Captive given the leads were played by Spooks deceased spy David Oyelowo and Kate Mara who seems to be getting around quite a bit recently, just don’t mention Fantastic Four. Sadly it doesn’t really deliver on any level and will surely end up with regular encore showings on True TV and the like.
Described by IMDb as “crime, drama, thriller” and “based on true events” it tells the story of Ashley Smith (Mara), a single mother and drug addict trying to get clean, who is taken prisoner in her own home by fugitive Brian Nichols (Oyelowo). Nichols is a criminal whose convictions include rape and has just recently added a triple homicide whilst making his escape from custody.
Now there’s a big thing made about a book, “Purpose driven life”, and how it played a big part in the way the story unfolded. Nichols insists that Ashley reads it to him. To my recollection she reads no more than a paragraph of it to him. If this book really did play a pivotal part in the tale then the film does little to show this even with the footage from Oprah when the author appears.
The film really just passes by without any real note. The relationship between Nichols and Ashley isn’t really shown to develop into any kind of mutual respect or even friendship. There’s no real tension to speak of, or at least it just doesn’t come across as the situation being all that tense. There’s so many opportunities where the predicament can be resolved in Ashley’s favour that you really start to stop caring. Don’t get me wrong, Oyelowo and Mara don’t do anything wrong but they aren’t given a great script to work with and the film itself offers no atmosphere to really draw you into the proceedings. Add to the broth an unusually timid performance from Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Kenneth Williams and you just feel that the whole film deserved better.
The film earns a weak 2/5 stars. Could do better.
Captive is available on DVD/Blu-Ray in the UK now.