HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Captive
HTS Overall Score:75
Atom Egoyan started out with a bang releasing his revolutionary film “Calendar” and then has faded into obscurity making movies that just haven’t gained the traction that he wants in the theatrical world. The man has an incredible talent, but his obtuse style of film making doesn’t jive with the general populace by and large, so his works tend to be lost along the side lines. With the thrashing that “Devil’s Knot” received in 2013 I was bracing myself for something completely horrible, but was pleasantly surprised to see that “The Captive” is one of the more entertaining and engage “Baroque” style thrillers of 2014. The cast is great, the settings is gorgeous and the tale is one that will strike straight to the heart of any red blooded human. The movie has a few flaws in the script that hamper it from being a truly great film, but this is a great leap forward for Egoyan and a fun little thriller that is sure to entertain.
Egoyan tells the tale of a couple who has had their daughter kidnapped 8 years prior. The beginning of the movie tends to confuse the viewer a little bit as Egoyan jumps back and forth through the timeline without any fades or queues that he is doing so. Once you get used to the shifting time lines the plot line becomes clearer and you can see what happened. Tina (Mireille Enos) and Matthew (Ryan Reynolds) had their daughter, Cass, stolen from them when Matthew went inside of a restaurant to purchase a pie for dinner. Coming out of the diner, Matthew finds nothing but an empty truck. The police seem to think that he’s done it as the special victim’s children task force detectives run him over the coals running under the assumption that he sold her off to save his business. Desperate and overwhelmed, the pair separate in their grief only to suffer for the next 8 years in isolation.
Unbeknownst to the parents, Cass (Alexia Fast) is still alive, held captive by the most twisted villain I have seen in a long time (played by Kevin Durand). It takes a LOOOOOOOOOOOOT to actually creep me out, as I’ve been an avid fan of horror and thrillers for over 20 years, but Kevin Durand’s role as the deliciously creepy Mika put chills down my spine. He plays the character as a cross between Vincent Price and a mustache twirling villain from the black and white days. That look in his eyes every time he looks at Cass is enough to make you want to wash yourself in a hot shower afterwards. Nothing is ever said throughout the movie about the child abduction and what torture or abuse she underwent, but it is left to the viewer’s imagination, with a few hints here and there and a nod to the camera every once in a while. You aren’t sure whether it was physical torture, psychological, sexual or what, but every appearance and every word of the script makes it VERY clear that she was not treated well. After 8 years or running Cass through the gambit, Mika is using her as bait on the internet to lure other unsuspecting children out to his ring of bored and mentally disturbed “club” or child abusers. Torturing Tina for years with pieces of Cass’s former life, Mika makes the fatal mistake of abducting the lead detective in the children’s special victim’s unit (Rosario Dawson) which allows her partner Jeffrey (Scott Speedman) all the leeway he needs along with Matthew to find Cass and end this twisted man’s nightmare once and for all.
Egoyan makes a distinct turnaround here, as he makes one his more mainstream movies to date with “The Captive”. In many ways it reminds me of the incredible (and also Canadian made) film “The Prisoners” with the tone and plotline, but Egoyan runs a fine line of biting off more than he can chew and tantalizing the audience with a truly creepy tale. We have the tortured couple, the daughter in captivity to a psychotic madman, a tale of two cops and taking down a child predator ring and that just starts to make the swing totter just a bit. The beginning a is a bit rocky with the abrupt shifts between time periods, but once you get used to that the rest of the movie just blows right on by at an incredible pace. Ryan Reynolds does one of those few performances where he doesn’t crack a joke once the entire movie, but plays a very serious roll in a way that can only be described as near perfect. His anguish and frustration over the lack of cooperation by the police and the desperation that a father would feel when his only daughter is taken from him leaves the viewer incredibly sympathetic towards his plight. Kevin Durand steels the show though, as his EXTREMELY disturbing portrayal of Mika is both over the top in a Shakespearean way, but also riveting as the viewer’s sits terrified about what the maniac will do, even though he doesn’t DO anything for a majority of the movie. The suspense that he brings out with his character is just that intense. The ending stumbles just a bit, as it really does seem that Egoyan bit off a bit more than he could chew, and while it is not a bad ending by any stretch of the imagination, it just peters out a bit too soon and draws the film down from a great film, to just a good one.
Most of the flaws in the movie were script based, as all the cast did a fantastic job with their respective rolls. A few lines here and there seemed odd, or out of place, and the beginning and end lost some of the traction needed to really take off and stick the landing, despite and absolutely phenomenal center portion.
Rated R for language and some violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=38969[/img]“The Captive” comes to Blu-ray disc in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 in the AVC code sporting a very nice looking transfer. The image is consistently stable the entire time, with a crisp and clear picture that looks amazing in the snow covered Niagra Falls locale. The white snow is hauntingly beautiful as the camera pans across the snowscape, and the detail looks impressive to the eye. There is a hint of softness over the image, but very little of it affects the detail level, even in the softest scenes. Colors are bright and cheerful with well saturated primaries and whites that look incredibly clean and pure, without pushing the white levels to blooming. Black levels stay excellent at all times, and while there is a little bit of black crush, it stays within acceptable levels. Overall the disc looks very good and hovers just underneath excellent.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=38977[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track tends to be like most dialogue driven movies. It’s rather front heavy with most of the focus on the three main speakers, but there is some solid use of the surrounds and LFE channel when called upon. The voices are locked up there in the center channel and the main soundstage carries a lot of the weight with the effects and main noises showing some great presence and directionality when the dialogue isn’t the main focus. The surrounds are a bit light, but the ambient noises such as a door slamming on Matthew’s pickup or the crunching of snow under a foot comes through excellently. LFE is mild, but consistent, adding a continued bassline throughout the movie that fills out the bottom end quite nicely. There are a few moments where it really roars, but for the majority of the movie it acts in support mode.
• Deleted Scenes
• Captive Thoughts Featurette
• Alternate Ending
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Atom Egoyan
Deliciously creepy and intense, “The Captive” isn’t a perfect thriller, and is eclipsed by its big brother “The Prisoners”, it still is a very entertaining thriller that kept me in my chair the entire 2 hour run time. Ryan Reynolds has so much potential when he’s not constantly making wise cracks and “The Captive” proves just what he can do when he puts his mind to it. The Blu-ray disc itself is given a solid audio and video presentation with some decent extras and rounds it out with a nice looking package that comes with a Digital Copy and Slipcover as well, making it well worth the watch at the minimum. Recommended.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos
Directed by: Atom Egoyan
Written by: Atom Egoyan, David Fraser
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 3rd 2015
Buy The Captive On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check it out
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