release date: 5 September 2014
run time: 112 mins
director: Atom Egoyan
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, William MacDonald
movie summary: Matthew (Ryan Reynolds) runs a small landscaping business in a small town outside of Niagara Falls, in southern Ontario. His wife Tina (Mireille Enos) is a housekeeper at one of the local hotels while their young daughter Cassandra (Peyton Kennedy/Alexia Fast) is a figure skater. After practice Matthew always take Cass to the local diner to pick up a homemade pie before making the trip home. One day in the middle of a blizzard Matthew runs in to grab one of Cassandra’s favourite pies only to return to an empty truck, she had been kidnapped.
Nicole (Rosario Dawson) is one of the head officers at the Niagara police department where she deals with all the children cases, including kidnappings and sexual abuse. Her new partner and future lover Jeffrey (Scott Speedman) has just transferred to her unit and plans to do whatever is necessary to catch the bad guys who abduct and abuse kids. When Matthew reports Cass missing, it’s their first case together and Jeff pushes all of Matthew’s buttons to get him to admit he sold his daughter off into a sex slave ring. When Tina shows up, Nicole tries her best to keep her calm even though she spends the whole time crying and blaming Matthew for their missing daughter. Jeff believes that Matthew is behind the whole thing while Nicole thinks this is just a regular kidnapping and there’s no involvement from the family.
Fast forward about nine years where we find that Matthew and Tina’s relationship has strained to the point where they avoid each other all the time and every phone call ends in a shouting match. Matthew has spent most of the last decade driving across the back roads of southern Ontario looking for his daughter. He has never given up hope and always posts new “missing” posters at every diner he stops at. Tina meanwhile spends her days crying alone at work. Her beautiful daughter has gone missing without a trace and there’s been no closure of any kind. She meets once a year with Nicole to talk but she always storms out because she can’t handle not knowing anything.
Inside the basement of a beautiful home somewhere in the same town, we find a well dressed man named Mika (Kevin Durand) watching Tina on a remote camera feed. Behind a wall is a hidden door and key pad that opens up in Cassandra’s room. She’s 17 now and about the age when the predators that abducted them lose interest in them because they are no longer “kids”. Through out all these years Cass has lived in Mika’s basement learning to play the piano, recording stories, and sharing memories of her parents with him. She’s been sheltered from the world but has hundreds of books, access to the internet, and has the ability to watch the cameras that spy on her parents heartbreak.
Mika is part of a ring of sexual predators that go into chat rooms to pick up kids from various ages and then kidnap them for their own desires. Nicole’s main job is to get into these rings to find the leader and bring it crashing down. After all these years she’s never managed to get a clue about Cassandra’s whereabouts until Jeff stumbles across her in a chat room trying to make friends with Nicole’s niece. This lead lands someone from Mika’s ring to get busted and thrown in jail. Mika visits him in jail to find out he wants revenge on Nicole, he wants her kidnapped, tortured, then killed. Mika decides it’s the only way to protect his ring so he kidnaps Nicole at a fundraiser thrown by his boss to honour her for all her hard work. Jeff loses his mind when his girlfriend gets kidnapped and begins to search everywhere for her, questioning anyone who knew her.
Matthew spends his mornings watching Cassandra’s former skating partner Albert (Aidan Shipley) skate at the local rink. When a mysterious lady shows up to interview him about Cass, Matthew decides to follow her vehicle out-of-town to a local diner where she meets Mika. While the two have coffee, Matthew interrupts to talk about missing children, he causes a scene which forces the diner owner to call the cops. Matthew leaves without anymore problems while contacting Jeff to inform him that he may have Cassandra’s kidnappers. Once Mika realizes who Matthew is he chases him down in his car trying his best to kill him. After a failed attempt to run Matthew off the road, Mika speeds away to get back to his house and to pack up his life before the cops find him, Cassandra, and bring his whole predator ring down.
my thoughts: The Captive is a Canadian made film that may not get a wide release outside of Canada. It is labeled as a gripping thriller with a solid cast that includes Ryan Reynolds, Rosario Dawson, Scott Speedman, Bruce Greenwood, and Mireille Enos. Sadly, The Captive is built all wrong and actually disappointed me beyond belief. I’ve said it before, probably a dozen times, that I hate movies that cut back and forth in the storyline to tell you the story. The writers of this film go from past to present so much it actually gets confusing on what year it is since Cassandra got kidnapped. Ryan Reynold’s character looks the exact same from beginning to end so it’s really tough to figure out how far he’s gotten in his search for missing daughter. The pain and agony have taken its toll on him even though he doesn’t appear to have aged one bit.
Rosario Dawson’s character is the smart cop who spends all her time trying to stop sexual predator rings that she allows herself to end up kidnapped. When someone becomes so focused on a target, they tend to let their guard down in other areas, and Dawson’s character is proof of that. Of course her boyfriend/work partner, Scott Speedman, is the hot-shot cop who won’t back from a challenge and thinks he knows it all. He doesn’t handle situations in the same way his partner does and tries to place blame on someone from the very beginning of a crime. He clashes with Reynold’s character throughout the whole movie because he thinks this isn’t a random kidnapping since her dad is about to file for bankruptcy.
Despite the fact everyone shares the common goal of trying their best to find Cassandra, no one comes across with a level head towards one another, which prevents any real breaks in the case. Mireille Enos’ character is overcome with so much grief that her marriage is all but over because she blames her husband for losing their daughter. She actually has the most screen time out of everyone effected because Kevin Durand’s character spends his days watching her on a closed circuit camera system, tormenting her with Cassandra’s things from her childhood. It’s a struggle from day one for her but she tries her best to continue living her life to the fullest hoping that her daughter one day returns.
There have many movies out there about kidnappers, child abduction, and creepy people. I was really surprised at how Durand portrays his character Mika. He dresses in a suit and tie all the time because he works for a design firm that has allowed him to afford a beautiful house and the equipment to kidnap and raise abducted children. What seriously creeped me out the most was his whenever he talked, he had a tone that came across as innocent yet powerful enough that if you pissed him off he’d probably kill you. His mustache on top of his voice were enough for me to appreciate the efforts he put into his character to make him come across a real life sexual predator. I’ve seen him in other movies over the years like Mystery, Alaska and Walking Tall but never seen him in a role quite like this.
my final thoughts: The Captive would be a tough movie for parents to watch who worry that their young children could be abducted. It presents a realistic picture of how creepy and sick some people really are, while reminding us even with today’s technology it is still possible for people to just disappear. If you go watch this movie, remember the presentation of the story makes it for a unthrilling two-hour movies that seriously under utilizes its all-star cast members.
my star rating: 4 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 19% out 100%