There is nothing quite like a lighthearted romp about an abducted child, right in time for the holidays. Sigh. The Captive is an indie flick that is currently suffering from some seriously poor timing, on top of a been there, done that script.
In The Captive, we meet landscaper Matthew Lane (Ryan Reynolds). One snowbound Canadian day (is there any other kind?) his daughter Cass (Peyton Kennedy) disappears from his parked car. Of course, his wife Tina (Mireille Enos) blames him and the tragedy destroys his marriage. Jump to 8 years later when we meet Cass’s abductor Mika (Kevin Durand), as well as the teenage Cass (Alexia Fast) who has herself a hefty case of Stockholm Syndrome. Thrown into the mix is a police officer who won’t let the case die, Nicole Dunlop (Rosario Dawson) and her skeptical partner Jeff Cornwall (Scott Speedman), who seriously suspects Matthew in the girl’s disappearance.
This movie starts out well enough, because there is a sense of suspense and disaster. Ryan Reynolds plays the part of the grieving, bereft father well, and his emotional reunion with his daughter is a tear jerker. Dunlop is suitably no nonsense and vulnerable. Had this been a straight shot, the movie would have been a winner in my book. Heck, it would have been right up there with Gone Baby Gone. It has the directing chops behind it, with the amazing Atom Egoyan.
Egoyan ruins it with far too much jumping around in the timetable. While flashbacks can be a great addition to a frightening story, I find them unnecessary when the story isn’t much of a mystery. Cutting back and forth in the timetable took a lot of the dramatic tension out of the film, which is something this movie really had going for it.
Then, with the addition of two poorly written characters, the script never really recovers. The first is Mika, who is such an over the top evil mastermind, he even twirls his pencil mustache. It’s like Egoyan wanted to make this character weird, but took him to a level that made him cartoonish instead. The unnecessary asides about how much he loves The Magic Flute are both strange and confusing. Durand has the skills of a high end B movie actor and his inability to turn his character into anything more than one dimensional evil ruined Mika.
Next was the character of Jeff Cornwall, who just didn’t fit. Yes, I get every cop is skeptical in a missing child case, but this guy goes too far. He is so corny and over-dramatic I had to check and make sure I wasn’t watching a Lifetime movie.
This movie feels like a half and half effort. The first half is excellent, with well written characters suffering from every parent’s worse nightmare. The second is just strange, with unbelievable characters and over acting. The pacing kind of mixes everything up. As a result a good effort falls flat. While I will say this movie is worth the watch, it’s probably best viewed for free in the comfort of your home… when it makes it inevitable premier on Lifetime.
WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!