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Captive

Year: 2015
Production Co: BN Films
Director: Jerry Jameson
Writer: Brian Bird
Cast: David Oyelowo, Kate Mara, Mimi Rogers

A strange movie that's part Oprah weepie of the week, part extended CSI episode and part hostage drama.

And I'm referring to the conflicting tones, not simply aspects of the plot. It's a true story so the writer and director were fairly constrained in the story they could tell, but every time it moves between the lead characters inside and the cops outside it abruptly shifts gears, like two random TV series episodes have been mashed up together.

Kate Mara is junkie single mother Ashley, trying to get her life together so the courts will give her back custody of her daughter. She's just moved into a new apartment and is ready to get on with her life when escaped criminal Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) bursts in and ties her up.

We've already seen Brian's daring escape from prison where he knocks a guard unconscious, bursts into a courtroom in the building, shoots two people dead (presumably the judge is the one who convicted him) and leads the police on a city-wide manhunt that he evades with skills most secret agents would envy.

When he takes Ashley hostage and she gets over the initial terror for her life the two spend the night gradually opening up to each (fairly implausibly after the care Brian's already taken not to get caught) and a strange kind of Stockholm Syndrome sets in.

All the while this is going on we cut to two detectives trying to co-ordinate the search for Brian who are taken straight from the TV cop casting playbook. One seems to be an ex supermodel now in her 40s so she has a bit of maturity, the other a grizzled, straight talking African American senior detective.

It all comes together in a very televisual style and leaves way too much unanswered. After killing several people we're more or less asked to sympathise with Brian even though the film doesn't give us any evidence that he's not an evil person – in fact it hardly asks the question, let alone answers it.

I can only guess Oyelowo said yes to this before Selma propelled him to the top of Hollywood.

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