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Captive, The (Blu-ray)

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    mandymanslaughter
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  • Captive, The (Blu-ray)



    Released by: Lionsgate
    Released on: March 3rd, 2015
    Director: Atom Egoyan
    Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos, Kevin Durand, Bruce Greenwood, Alexia Fast
    Year: 2014
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Known for other psychological thrillers such as Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter, director Atom Egoyan again forays into familiar territory with 2014's The Captive. The film focuses on the kidnapping of one young girl, Cassandra (Alexia Fast), and the tolls that her being gone take on those affected by the event. Not very well received at the Cannes Film Festival, one meets the interesting premise with a bit of trepidation, which is supported at points and defied at others throughout the movie.

    The film plays out a bit like a well-made, drawn-out Lifetime movie. A 9-year old girl, Cassandra, is taken out of the back of a truck when her father, Matthew Lane (Ryan Reynolds), stops into a diner for a couple of minutes. Immediately the case is thrown over to a special team who investigate missing children, which is headed by detective Nicole (Rosario Dawson) and includes Jeffrey (Scott Speedman) who has recently joined the team from his homicide detective background. Cassandra's mother, Tina (Mireille Enos), is brought in to hear the harrowing news, and the stage is set for the film to unravel into its rescue mission.

    The narrative is told non-linearly, but not in a Tarantino twist kind of way or even via straightforward flashbacks. The effect at first is a bit jarring and at times it muddles the plot line, but overall one gets used to it and navigates around the jumps. There is a preoccupation on part of the director with just how the characters cope with the event, but the psychological effect on most is superficial at best. It's particularly hard to relate to Tina, who is hollowed out emotionally yet presented as a very one-dimensional character. All in all, the motivations for the actions of each character are skewed. Cassandra in particular is troublesome. She aids her kidnapper to lure in other children, but without apparent remorse or reflection. While she should have been affected the most, her psychological depth is the least developed in the film.

    There are issues with believability as well. Detective Nicole and her team are on the case of Cassandra for almost 8 years before most of the narrative takes place without any great progress. The love stories throughout the movie feel forced or unrealistically pliable. The film drags on at points and sets up scenes that strongly resemble scenes that came before. That being said, the story is quite compelling and there are some nail biting moments that keep you engaged throughout.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Captive was shot digitally and is presented in 1080p widescreen with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Despite the time lapses and jumps, the film takes place principally in winter with its bleak color scheme of varying whites and browns carrying throughout. While this is probably a conscious reflection of the dark emotional tones of the film, at times scenes feel washed out (notably Matthew's silver truck driving against a gray winter sky and a snowy landscape of birch trees). The image quality is good and believable, without any noticeable flaws. Only minor issues arise in some interior shots without adequate lighting, but that is nitpicking at best.

    The film is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While there is not a lot of sound variety or explosiveness to test out the full surround experience, the dialogue is clear and the score well traveled throughout the speakers. Variety does come into play between the sounds of the interior and exterior scenes, and they both enhance the ambience of their respective scenes.

    For extras, the Blu-ray presents an alternate ending which was a complete waste of the three minutes it traversed. There are also a few deleted scenes that were aptly omitted; there is no new information or points of intrigue that could be gleaned from them. Also featured are interviews with a few of the actors and the director, titled “Captive Thoughts”, which are not at all captivating. Atom Egoyan explains a bit of his vision and reports on what he believes he accomplished; however it only serves to point out what lacks from the final project. Overall, it's nice for these insights to be available for anyone who might be interested, but they're easily skippable.

    Bottom Line:

    Atom Egoyan's psychological thriller The Captive has a very specific agenda and an enthralling point of departure plot wise, but fails to deliver a cohesively effective presentation. It is for the most part well-acted and well shot, but the cut-up storyline does nothing to mask superficial character development and unrealistic plot points. While it might not merit being booed by an audience, it's simultaneously watchable and forgettable, and a bit overdone.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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