Plot: What’s it about?
Losing a child can often happen in the blink of an eye and that very thing does in The Captive. Ryan Reynolds plays Matthew, he steps inside a diner one day, leaving his daughter Cassandra (Alexia Fast) in the truck. As he returns, she’s nowhere to be found. His wife Tina blames him for her disappearance and this leads to them getting divorced. What surprises almost everyone is that Cassandra is in fact alive, and living under the custody of a pedophile, Mika (Kevin Durand). We learn that she’s been held captive by him for over 8 years. The movie then zigzags between various times and that’s its ultimate downfalls. One of the big issues is that a lot of specifics that were probably better kept secret, are revealed too early. There’s not much of a mystery or diving force to any of this. We see that Cassandra is alive fairly early in the film, and we learn the identity of her abductor. The scattered timeline only aggravates after a while. I imagine this approach was to make the audience do more of the leg work and try to connect the pieces themselves. This proves ineffective. By going back and forth will likely lose some viewers early on. It’s almost as if there wasn’t enough confidence in the story to tell it in a straightforward manner so they decided to shake things up a bit.
I don’t have children, but I can’t imagine what the pain of losing one feels like, nor do I want to. The acting is good from most of the actors. Scott Speedman and Rosario Dawson play the two police detectives, and while I didn’t particularly like Speedman’s characters, he still does a good job with the role. Reynolds is solid here as well. At first, he’s a suspect, and we see the rage inside him as he just wants to be reunited with his daughter. We’ve seen plenty of films like this before, but the execution here is the biggest flaw. The scattered timeline and lack of an interesting villain don’t help matters either. Prisoners was another film featuring child abduction that fared much better than this one. It was actually one of my favorite films from 2013. I think what worked there was the steady direction and the central mystery wasn’t revealed until fairly late in the game. The Captive takes an interesting premise and wastes it. Don’t bother with this film. For all it gets right, the wrong choices harm it in the end. Skip it.
Video: How’s it look?
The film takes place in a snowy setting in Canada and the transfer displays a strong image throughout. It might not be the most visually inviting film, but there were really no issues to speak of here. Details were clear and the print displayed no major issues of any kind. Black levels were solid as well. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a DTS HD track that suits the film well. It’s subtle at times, but gets the job done. Vocals remained clear throughout with no problems that become noticeable. There was some background noise with cars and other things and that added a nice touch here and there. Fans will be pleased with this track.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Atom Egoyan provides a running track for the film. Atom seems generally pleased with the film. We learn some about casting, shooting in the harsh conditions as well as some other topics. It’s a decent track.
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Ending – Offers a darker finish than the theatrical ending.
- Captive Thoughts – This is a brief behind the scenes look that offers interviews with the cast and Director. There’s not much here to get excited over.
- Digital Copy
The Bottom Line
There’s an interesting story here, but the execution is sloppy and frustrates after a while. The cast is mostly solid (save for the villain played by Kevin Durand), but even they can’t save this film from collapsing under its own weight. The scattered timeline gets annoying quick and there’s very little suspense. Skip this film and watch Prisoners instead.