SYNOPSIS: In this psychological thriller from Academy Award nominated director Atom Egoyan, Matthew must live through a parent's worst nightmare when his young daughter Cassandra vanishes without a trace. Years later, when detectives Nicole and Jeffrey discover recent images of Cassandra online, Matthew puts everything on the line to get his daughter back.
In an attempt to revive his flagging career after a series of duds, former Hollywood’s hottest leading man Ryan Reynolds seems to channel all his screen presence in smaller, indie productions in the meantime before his stint in Deadpool.
Choosing to work with Oscar nominated director and writer Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe) is perhaps the biggest reason why Reynolds and his bunch of co-stars chooses to work on this insipid kidnapping drama shot in icy cold Ontario, Canada.
In a nutshell, Reynolds plays a landscape worker Matthew whose nine-year-old daughter, Cass is kidnapped after he got down his car to pick up a pie. Unfortunately, there’s zero suspense and plot twists outright as the culprit and motive is revealed shortly after the opening credits as the story hops back and forth over a course of eight years.
It’s not really a sin to tell a story in a non-linear way (Memento and Atonement just to state a few) but Egoyan and his co-writer David Fraser apparently lack the specific skills to engage the audience often leaving them frustrated, like a game of jigsaw puzzle gone wrong.
The story which is inspired by the Cornwall pedophile ring in Eastern Ontario has Kevin Durand (The Strain) playing a well-mannered, creepy pedophile, Mika who has not only held Cass in captivity but has resort to doing video surveillance of Cass’ mum. His pedophile ring is so sophisticated that even in the span of eight years, Detectives Nicole Dunlop (Rosario Dawson from Netflix’s Daredevil) and Jeffrey Cornwall (Scott Speedman from Underworld) are unable to bring Cass back to her parents.
Instead of a straight out detective crime thriller, Egoyan throws in baffling characters’ motivation such as Mika letting Cass meeting her dad face-to-face and Matthew’s all of a sudden realization that Mika is her daughter’s abductor later on. Pedophile is a touchy, evocative subject which made for a great cinematic experience if done right as in the case of Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal’s Prisoners. Yet The Captive sadly squandered away most of its potential on an unbelievable plot which is neither heart-breaking nor disturbing.
As for the actors, Reynolds did pull in a reasonably strong performance as the anguish father though most of the scenes he is relegated to driving in his truck or talking on the phone with his estranged wife. Rosario Dawson is amazing as Dunlop, it’s a pity she didn’t has much to do in the final act while Mireille Enos (World War Z) and especially Durand overacts at times. Scott Speedman on the other hand plays a bastard cop who attempts to pick a fight with a father whose daughter just went missing. That explained why a lot of crimes remained unsolved.
Audio Commentary with writer/director Atom Egoyan is an informative one as Egoyan provides interesting details behind the story and characters etc. The end product might not be as thrilling as you expect but he makes a good storyteller.
Captive Thoughts Featurette is an 8 minutes segment that has the main cast members and Atom Egoyan talking about the movie.
There are also 14 minutes of Deleted Scenes, an Alternate Ending and a series of Lionsgate Trailers.
Visual and detailing are fine with the freezing landscapes looking insanely beautiful. The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is serviceable with clear dialogue, occasional ambient sound effects and also an unimpressive brooding score by Mychael Danna.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee