Beneath the well-tuned atmospherics lurks a schlocky, fairly ludicrous and pretty distasteful yarn that ultimately puts the stress in all the wrong places.
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The plotting here is so hopelessly tangled, clichéd, and bereft of psychological complexity that it's difficult to care what happens to any of these people.
It is a ridiculous story, and these aren't human beings acting in a way that any of us would recognize.
A lazily plotted and largely generic thriller.
Retreading "Prisoners" territory to an extent that at times makes you wonder if they’re two parts of some sort of Canadian auteur experiment that no one else is in on, what is lost in the transfer, however, is any of the Villeneuve film’s subtlety or shading, and we are left only with its most lurid, credulity-stretching highlights, with all other textures blasted out to snowy blankness.
Not exciting enough to be taken as straightforward thriller and not engaging enough for a dramatic character piece, Egoyan's The Captive is held back by its own lame script and a distinct lack of necessity.
The deftness with which the helmer manipulated time in his earlier pics eludes him in this generic procedural context... leaving us with obfuscation but no genuine sense of mystery.
Without a thin tether to credibility, this fussy, morbid fantasy simply slides off into the void.
As a straight procedural, this might have worked if Egoyan did not try the audience's patience and insult their intelligence with how utterly implausible his drama is. But line by line, scene by scene, it is offensively preposterous and crass.
This is Egoyan’s best film for a very long time: like Reynolds, he needed a hit, and The Captive is a welcome return to the form of The Sweet Hereafter. Its eeriness creeps up on you and taps you on the shoulder, and when you spin around, it’s still behind you.