The Captive

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday March 3, 2015

The Captive

In an early scene of "The Captive," a detective shows the mother of an abducted girl his special skill: Pattern recognition. He is able to look at a pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces on a table and, in no time at all, describe the picture almost perfectly. Throughout this film, Academy Award-nominated writer/director Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter") will ask his audience to perform the same trick.

In a shattered timeline that follows no chronologically predictable order we watch three different plots unfold: Matthew (Ryan Reynolds) and his wife (Mireille Enos) lives are torn apart when their child, Cassandra (Alexia Fast), is abducted. Nicole (Rosario Dawson) and Jeffrey (Scott Speedman) are detectives, who discover years later that Cassandra is alive and now luring victims into a child pornography ring. And Mika (Kevin Durand), a pornographer who holds Cassandra captive, is not only trading in images of children, but also in hidden camera footage of the victims' grieving parents.

Austere, clean, geometric lines of modernist architecture meld with cold, empty snow covered landscapes. Walls are pulled open to reveal hidden rooms, and just when we feel that a space is warm and almost human, we realize that it is actually a prison. By exploring the perversity of voyeurism in this story, Egoyan implicates us, the watchers.

By exploring the perversity of voyeurism in this story, Egoyan implicates us, the watchers.

"The Captive" has all the stock characters and plot points that we are acquainted with in tense action-thrillers and disturbing crime dramas like "CSI" and "Law and Order" (down to the familiar car chase near the end of the picture), and Egoyan doesn't give these to us in the accustomed manner. This adds curves to the mind-bending seduction of the plot, but leaves vast holes in the development of the characters, missing pieces in the puzzle that our imagination must fill. It's up to the individual to decide if this is profound, superficial or maybe even stereotypical.

This Blu-ray comes with an alternate ending, which is bleaker but ties the themes of the film together a bit better. Also included are deleted scenes that are far more interesting than those that accompany most movies, as they are just more pieces in an incomplete puzzle. The audio commentary with Egoyan may fill in some details of this brainteaser, along with observations by the director and some of the cast members in the featurette "Captive Thoughts."

"The Captive"
Rated R / 112 min.


Related Story

WTC View

Read More »