The Captive (2014) Film Review, a movie directed by Atom Egoyan, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos, Kevin Durand, Alexia Fast, Peyton Kennedy, Bruce Greenwood, Brendan Gall, Aaron Poole, Jason Blicker, Aidan Shipley, Ian Matthews, Christine Horne, and William MacDonald.
Having a film play at Cannes is a big deal; when that same film gets booed at Cannes, that’s an even bigger deal. So the first question I ask is: how could the selection committee get it wrong? And my follow up question, how could one of Canadians’ iconic film makers get it wrong? These two questions were front and centre, as I watched Atom Egoyan’s The Captive.
Minutes into the film, if I could, I would have given a great big boo right back at all those who booed the film in Cannes. The opening sequence rams the stark images of the Great White North in your face – you feel the cold, the loneliness and the isolation. Mr. Egoyan was not going to disappoint me.
This is a story about child abduction. While the subject matter is horrific and hard to digest, it’s unfortunately part of a long list of evil-minded atrocities committed each and every day. Egoyan escorts you expertly through the pain of the abduction and thankfully saves the viewer from witnessing any of the graphic depictions and eye averting scenes that I was worried about. The film is structured in such a way that the viewer’s imagination, if it wants to, can take you as far into that ugly world as it is willing to go. That’s a powerful story-telling technique (I couldn’t let my mind go to the ugly bits. Keeping those thoughts at a safe distance took a lot of work.). In this film, Egoyan draws the audience in, well past that of the spectator. That deserves crazy wild applause, and should drown out those booing viewers who perhaps let their discomfort with the subject cloud their reaction. But that’s just a guess on my part.
The story zig zags nicely, and is peppered with plenty of ‘what the hell’ is going on moments. I think any viewer would be hard pressed to get ahead of the story. And for those movie-goers who get frustrated or confused as they wait for the payoff – let me assure you, it’s all revealed and nicely paced.
Although I did find some of the set-ups and pay-offs a little too convenient, you certainly won’t find yourself slapping the side of your head saying – ‘like that would ever happen’. It in no way hinders the movie.
The cast is spot on. We all know Ryan Reynolds for his non-dramatic roles and we like him. In this role he’s pissed-off at the police, grieving the loss of his daughter, dealing with his wife who blames him, and somehow he still shows up to do a day’s work. Reynolds could have played this part as a depressed alcoholic. But what he does is show you that he’s holding it together, with scotch tape, a glue gun and a couple of staples. The tension of not knowing how much longer it’ll hold together is brilliant.
Mireille Enos, the grieving mother and wife to Reynolds character, also plays her part smartly. She ‘s more than just the grieving mother – she’s presented with some unusual circumstances that push her further than any degree of grief could possible do.
Scott Speedman and Rosario Dawson play cops, who deal exclusively in the vile world of child corruption. There is a little bit of good cop, bad cop that I could have done with-out – but that’s not their fault.
I was prepared to boo and even hiss at this film. But I didn’t and I don’t think you will either.
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