Movie Review: The Captive

Director        : Atom Egoyan

Genre            : Thriller

Cast               : Ryan Reynolds, Mireille Enos , Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Kevin

                        Durand, Alexia Fast, Bruce Greenwood, Peyton Kennedy,

Release Date: September 25,  2014

Run time      : 1 Hour 52 minutes


Synopsis       : Eight years after the disappearance of Cassandra, some disturbing

                        incidents seem to indicate that she’s still alive. Police, parents and

                       Cassandra herself, will try to unravel the mystery of her disappearance.

Trailer          The Captive

IMDB Link  The Captive

When Tanweer Vox Media invited me to the premiere screening of Atom Egoyan’s The Captive, I thought of reading about it before I see the movie.

Later, I thought I shouldn’t have done that. Almost all the reviews I read about the movie were quite brutal. Some of them were from top critics. They just ripped apart the movie and everything about it. I even thought of excusing myself from investing my time into it.

But then I thought of the last movie TVM invited me to- Walk of Shame. Despite of its negative reviews, I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted comedy.

So I thought may be just may be the critics might prove to be wrong once again and I went ahead to see the movie.


Without further ado, here’s my review:

The movie wasn’t as terrible as I was expecting it to be. In fact, I found it to be quite good. Yes, it did have few plot holes, reason lapses, and was a bit slow, but still it was quite entertaining.

 The Captive Poster

About the movie:

It’s the story of a couple Matthew Lane (Ryan Reynolds) and Tina Lane (Mireille Enos) who have a 9-year old daughter who disappears suddenly. Mathew picks his daughter Cassandra Lane (Peyton Kennedy) up from her skating practice and stops at a diner to get some pie. Cassandra was lying down in the back seat of his pickup truck. Mathew goes inside the diner and then when he comes back his daughter has vanished. Matthew’s wife, Tina never forgave him for leaving their daughter alone in the truck while he went to buy the food. Because of this they had a falling out.

The movie was very slow burn in the beginning. My hubby even fell asleep 😛 But I’d ignore that it was because of the movie and blame it on his exhaustion from his job 😛

The movie opens with a tall, slender man with beige colored hair watching Mozart (The Queen of the Night’s aria from Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute‘). Very slowly (too slowly in my opinion), he walks down the steps of his home and drag what appear to be a wooden panel to reveal a locked metal door behind which a girl is singing and playing a piano.

The girl is 17 years-old Cassandra (Alexia Fast) and the man, Mika (Kevin Durand), is the baddie of this story.

the-captive-kevin-durand-rosario-dawson-399x600Mika(Kevin Durand) and Nicole(Rosario Dawson)

He enters the room with confident gait, knowing that the girl sitting in front of him is completely under his power. This gives a strange air of triumph. He looked totally pleased with himself. 

He’s an eerie, sick and deranged man. He’s fascinated with Tina as how she’s taking this loss, so he bugs the place where Tina works and takes pleasure in watching her suffer. The intense way in which he watched her gave me the chills.

Later, he starts dropping off Cassandra’s things like her hair brush, her trophy, her tooth, etc., at the place where Tina works and watched with satisfaction as she fall apart every time she come across her things. It was so sadistic.

I’ve read somewhere that if you hate a bad character to an extreme degree, that’s when the actor, playing that part has succeeded. I must say Kevin Durand did an amazing job of depicting a calculated, eccentric and deranged man on the screen.

I hated the man from the first instance. He was strange, sinister looking and had an air of creepiness about him.


Eight years on, nothing’s changed except for, now teenager, Cassandra (Alexia Fast).

Being held captive for eight years in a room by the creepy Mika, it was insinuated that she might have developed the Stockholm syndrome as she seems to accept her fate and even like Mika.

But in my opinion, Cassandra never lost hope. She did everything she had to in order to survive. She knew in her heart that her father would eventually find her. She’s been portrayed as a strong character. She was abused and held in solitary confinement but she never lost hope. She had never said any unfavorable word to Mika, doing everything he want her to, even going on the internet to trap more kids for him, to make him think that she liked it there and become careless with her. It almost seemed like she was waiting for some kind of slip from him that would free her. In the end when she got the tiniest slip, she screamed for help.

The character of Cassandra was not very well-written but the actor Alexia Fast who played it did do justice to it. At first she may come as insipid and too tranquil for an abducted girl but underneath that surface, you can almost see the hurt, confusion, and pain of all those years simmering away. I admit she did slip at some places where she looked like she was bored but overall she did a good role of a traumatic girl.

Well, I could be wrong but this is what I inferred.

 1196122_The Captive

Cassandra (Alexia Fast)


The next frame shows us a distraught Tina taking to someone. We later discover that it was Nicole and every year Nicole meets Tina on the day her daughter’s disappeared to give some comfort to her by listening to her.

the-captive-rosario-dawson-399x600Nicole (Rosario Dawson)

After that Ryan Reynolds made his first appearance. At first look, he looked like a criminal himself, the way he was looking at the girl but later we learned that he, in fact, spends his spare moments looking out for teenage girls in the hope that one might turn out to be his daughter Cassandra who was abducted 8 years back.

62503-QOTN-1345Matthew(Ryan Reynolds) and Tina (Mireille Enos) on the day Cassandra disappearedthe-captive

In one frame of the movie, detective Jeffrey (Scott Speedman) was inquiring Vince Gray (Bruce Greenwood) about another abducted officer Nicole Dunlop (Rosario Dawson). And in the next, Nicole was sitting in his office and inquiring why Jeffrey wants to join her unit. What! She’s was just disappeared then how’s she here?? What the heck is happening???  From their talk, I finally realized, they were in different timeline.

Then we were unexpectedly taken to another timeline, the day Cassandra was abducted.

It was all so confusing. All the scenes of the movie are inaptly put together. This is not a movie to sit back and enjoy. You would need to be vigilant to understand it.

This was the time my husband finally decided to arise from his sleep. Now he wants to know what has happened in the time he was sleeping. Are you kidding me???

Well, I let him sit there (and stew >:D ) for few minutes until a scene came up where there were no dialogues and told him everything in the fast mode 😀

Coming back to the review,

The most infuriating thing about this movie is its broken timeline, at one second we are in past and then at the next… Bam! Present! Then again past and then again present.

Without any warning the audience gets toggled unceremoniously between past and present.

It all feels like a puzzle that was put together haphazardly.

In this broken timeline setting, the movie follows the police investigation and the falling out of Cassandra’s parents because of her disappearance.

the-captive-mireille-enos-rosario-dawson-sliceJeffery, Tina and Nicole

The strength of the movie was Ryan Reynolds and Mireille Enos. They did an outstanding portrayal of parents whose daughter gets kidnapped. Reynolds as a desperate father and Enos as a distraught mother. Their pain, confusion, simmering rage, helplessness was completely evident even in their body language. The way Reynolds immerse himself in his character in the entire movie is amazing. His guilty for leaving Cassandra alone that day, his helplessness when he can’t find a way to bring her back, Reynolds portrayed it flawlessly in the movie. It would tug at the heart strings of people who wear their hearts on their sleeves (like me 😥 )

The actor whose talent was utterly wasted was Rosario Dawson. Her role as a detective on the case of child abusing ring could have been a strong one instead it looked like disheveled and sloppily written.

As for Scott Speedman, his role was absolutely unnecessary. He did nothing than to act smug and obnoxious most of the time. In an instance or two, he hinted that his willingness to work in the Child Abuse Unit has to do something with his past but we never really learned about his story.

There are some scenes in the movie that overlooked all the reasons and logic. Like if you are after a child abusing ring wouldn’t you keep a close eye on someone who visits the only prisoner you captured from the ring? Or wouldn’t you question the said prisoner? Also the police was intent on finding any clue that could make Matthew guilty instead of going after the real offenders. There was this scene when Jeffery used his niece to lure Cassandra into open and when Nicole sees it, she put all reasons aside and marched directly to her and into the frame of her laptop’s camera. Obviously, Mika was watching the whole conversation and he terminated the connection (By the way now-a-days if a connection is terminated, it doesn’t pop up in bold letters on the screen 😛 )

In my opinion, it was the imprudent thing to do. She knew Mika was watching and still went ahead. And then Jeffery and Nicole started arguing about this in front of the still opened laptop. Mika turned the camera on remotely and watched their whole conversation and because of it, he was able to abduct Nicole later.

If you’re a competent police officer wouldn’t you show cautiousness and at least put the flap of the laptop down?

There were some some completely unnecessary scenes in the movie.

To summarize,

This is a movie about a relentless father who never gave up on his abducted daughter, who never ceased to stop looking for his daughter, about a mother who was so immerse in her own sorrow that she stopped caring for everyone else, about a girl who even after being abducted and stowed away for eight years, never lost hope of being free one day, about a detective who persistently chased every tip in order to trap the child abusing ring.

This could have been the best movie in Ryan Reynolds career, BUT it isn’t though it’s no fault of his.

The story-line is good as it covers a serious issue of our society but the execution of it is clumsy and outlandish. There’s neither mystery nor thrill in the movie, just intense emotions tugging at your heart strings.

This isn’t a thriller as it was advertised. This is a slow stewing pot of emotions, rage, helplessness and calm acceptance.

The cinematography of the movie is beautiful. The beautiful white, snowy scenery is captured expertly by Paul Sarossy.

This is a good movie if not the best. This is a movie you can see at least for once.

My rating:



Your comments make my day. I really love and appreciate when you take out time to comment on my posts and share what you think of them. I hope to keep on hearing from my readers. Thank you for stopping by :) XO, Samareen

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